Blister on shin: I have lymphoedema in both legs, but... - LSN


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Blister on shin

Catlady56 profile image

I have lymphoedema in both legs, but the left one is worse than right. I was given compression knee highs by clinic last year and given advice on skin care etc and was then discharged. Originally I wore the compression socks every single day, but I admit that recently, and clearly foolishly, I have not been wearing them as often as I should. This morning I discovered a small blister on the bottom of discoloured area on left shin and the blister was weeping clear fluid. I have cleaned area well and put a non adhesive iodine dressing on area and then compression sock on top. Is there anything else I should be doing? In the recent warm weather my left foot/ankle area has been swelling quite significantly, particularly after walking. I'm 60 and overweight and no amount of dieting seems to shift it. Thanks for any advice.

17 Replies

The only advice I would give, is to get it looked at by either your GP, Lymphodema nurse or a Practice Nurse, if only to be reassured that you've done everything correctly, and to possibly prevent getting Cellulitis, I wish you well x

Catlady56 profile image
Catlady56 in reply to Jennymary

Thank you for reply. I have had cellulitis once last year and GP gave me antibiotics and referred me to Practice Nurse, who in turn sent me to Lymphodema clinic. I will keep a close eye on things and if it isn't improving will get appointment at GP.

I get these, ranging in size from thumbnail to little finger. If lymph can leak out, bugs can get in!

It's best to get it seen and dressed by a nurse (doctors seem a bit "hands off"). Compression hosiery shouldn't be worn until it's healed -- instead there should be an elasticated tubular bandage.

Check for increased heat and redness and 'flu-like feelings -- you may be prescribed antibiotics and should really have a two-week course.

Ask the nurse not to pick at the scab when it's healing.

Thank you for your reply. It's only a tiny blister, but I've not had one before. I will try the tubular bandage over non stick dressing. I've had cellulitis once in that leg last year, which wasn't a lot of fun. Dr gave antibiotics that time and said to get it dressed but Nurse said antibiotics pointless and leg didn't need dressing as the skin wasn't broken then! This time it is and I'm watching carefully for any sign of infection. Scab will be left in peace when it forms :)

Avoid iodine dressings - get it assessed by the practice nurse. If the shin is hot to.the touch it may be cellulitis and must be checked. Even though you have been discharged by the clinic, they will see you if there are changes in your condition, plus you may need different compression.

Catlady56 profile image
Catlady56 in reply to Lynora

Thank you for your reply. I thought the iodine dressing would be good infection preventer - perhaps it is too harsh? Just got a plain non adhesive dressing on it with tubigrip on top today. I will monitor it over weekend and see how it goes. It's not oozing today, it's only a tiny blister, but I haven't had one before.

Lynora profile image
Lynora in reply to Catlady56

Yes, it's too harsh. What you are describing is a lymph blister, and the iodine dressing may be too much for the surrounding tissue, and cause it to get soggy and break down. A dry absorbant dressing is better - and in an emergency, a sanitary towel can be useful. If you have to use tubigrip make sure it is not too tight, but just enough to hold a dressing in place.

Sorry to hear of your problems. I don't know if you have any European-trained Lymph. nurses near you, but like you, I had skin problems, until one day a new nurse (Hungarian) said that I would have problems wearing garments . I have itchy dry skin as long term side effect of Tamoxifen, and she said this would cause problems with garments. She advised substituting MLD - but of course we have to pay. If you live in London there are details of two places that offer subsidised MLD on - Look under Lymphoedema category.

Catlady56 profile image
Catlady56 in reply to veriterc

Thanks for the reply. I live in rural West Wales and it is a mobile clinic that comes to area once a month. The nurses are Welsh. I have heard of MLD but it hasn't been offered to me as my lymphoedema is not caused by cancer and my level of swelling is considered a fairly low one, but clearly skin is vulnerable because it is thin, discoloured and dry. I will have to be more attentive than I have been to keeping it moisturised.

Lynora profile image
Lynora in reply to Catlady56

Give the team a call, Catlady56, and ask to be seen the next time they are in your area. In the meantime, if the reddening worses, or the skin becomes hot to the touch, or you feel under the weather - get yourself to the GP, as that may be cellulitis.

As you probably know, UK is almost at bottom of European table when it comes to health (heaven only knows why we haven't taken advantage of being in EU and learnt from their hospitals). But I think MLD is suitable for all swelling caused by Lymph. not just for cancer-induced You could also go on the La Roche Posay website and ask if their skincare range might have a suitable cream. This is a clinically-trialled French skincare range, approved all over the world - except here! They make skincare especially for burns, etc. Good luck

you could have a an infection called erysipelas and you need a very specific antibiotic to clear it; otherwise it is likely to be cellulitis. Either way you need to visit your GP.

I have had MLD for my Lymphoedema ,look on the MLD web site there may be a therapist within travelling distance. Mine taught me to do my own simple massage which with the stockings and simple leg exercises enables me to keep things under control. The Lymphoedma support network has a good booklet detailing both the exercises and massage treatment.

Tai chi can also help with the swelling.

Cellulitis can be be areal problem, the last two insect bites I had caused it and therefore increased the Lymphoedema. Watch it carefully and get the antibiotics.

Good luck with it all and keep up the pressure on the GP. It took years to get mine diagnosed, I kept being told to take diuretics and do more excercise!

Catlady56 profile image
Catlady56 in reply to Suziemary

Thank you for that. I will look into the MLD and the Lymphoedema support network. Yes GP here also suggested "water" pills and yes exercise! The excess fluid isn't "water" it's lymph and diuretics wont help with anything. I've got arthritis in left knee anyway and walking is now difficult and often painful. Frustrating because in my 30's/40's I used to walk many miles each week and rode a bicycle, now I feel more like 80 than 60. Still plod on - blister is improving now.

Had to second look picture as thought it was my leg. I had cellulitis really badly and doctor referred me to district nurse for daily dressing as well as course of antibiotics. Took a good while to clear up well enough for referral to lymphedema clinic. The clinic is marvellous, they measured both legs for knee highs and gave me samples of creams to keep skin moisturised (most important). The stockings are murder to get on and I defo cant take them off myself. Bought a gizmo, where you load the stocking onto a frame and step into stocking it works really well and is easy to use. Then I hit another problem, I opted for the open toe type, which has a nasty habit of rolling back up the foot causing fluid pooling. I got around this problem by sewing an elastic bar onto the toe opening which pops through toe, similar to a flip flop, but in middle not the big toe. space....great news it works and is not uncomfortable......tip don't cut the elastic too short as it will nip. This may sound bad but, I change the stockings every other day and leave on through the night, mainly because of how difficult it is to 1. get them on 2, get them off.

It works well for me.

Hello Amcc, thank you for your comments. Blister has healed on it's own after I cleaned it carefully twice a day. My leg looks like that all the time, with or without knee highs. Mine are closed toe but are extremely thick and cut in at ankles after wearing all day. I can get them on and off ok - with lots of tugging, but I have to confess that in this latest heat wave I haven't worn them at all and have switched to tubigrip instead which I find just as effective and a lot more comfortable. I use Balneum Plus cream which is very good. Lymphedema clinic discharged me after my second visit so I am not inclined to contact them again. GP's don't seem to have much of a clue so I am managing on my own.

I too have been getting blisters on both my legs. They just weep salt water for weeks and don't seem to heal, it's awful!

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