Will scuba diving make my primary lymphoedema worse? - LSN

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Will scuba diving make my primary lymphoedema worse?


I have primary lymphoedema in both my lower legs, it got diagnosed last year. I am currently looking at doing a volunteering course for when I finish school, however it would involve scuba diving everyday. I have never dived before but I am a competitive swimmer. When I race in tight racing suits it causes swelling in my legs, but those suits cut off at my knees so swelling is to be expected. I am worried diving might do the same to my legs and also worried that the change in pressure may affect it.

Has anyone got any advice on diving with it or how it affected them if they have done it before - any advice welcome!

3 Replies

Hi Winston. Therapist here who has dived in the past. The deeper the water you are in, the greater the compression on your legs from the hydrostatic pressure. With your swimming tights, sounds like you might benefit from wearing below knee garments to stop the swelling when you race. With diving, look for something comfortable with mild compression as a starting garment, if you need compression. Can you get full length swimming tights/leggings? If you wear a wetsuit, make sure it is comfy (no tight bands around groin or knee that could block lymph flow). Hope you have a great time!


Thank you so much! I will try wearing some of my compression garments when I race to see if that helps. I have looked into full leg compression for when I swim but I couldn’t find any, so I usually put my compression on straight after I get out the pool.

I look forward to trying diving!

Thank you!

I have primary lymphoedema and go scuba diving.

I try to be careful not to scratch my feet/ legs under water.

I wear diving shoes/ boots and, therefore, fins that fit with the footwear. That way I am not exposing bits of my feet to scratchy things on and near the sea bed. I try and wear a full leg wet suit, not above knee (obviously talking warm/ hot diving abroad). I was once kneeling on the sea bed with bare knees and realised it was a silly thing to do. Fortunately no harm done, no skin damage no cellulitis! Getting a tight wetsuit on over my ankles can be a challenge.

I am not a natural diver - my husband has always got the hang of it better than me but I have done over 60 dives, the last ones being in St Lucia in December.

I am sure you will be fine.

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