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Tender Swelling in Armpit

Aged 58 and feel 90.

I have Primary Lymphoedema in both legs for over 50yrs.

In 1973 and 1985 I had two benign lumps removed from both breasts leaving one breast slightly bigger than the other but with a good bra this does not notice much.

10 years ago I found this soft swelling in my armpit which was painless and was told

it was part of the lymph nodes that had swollen and not to worry about it but to keep checking it for any changes. It did not brother me until Apr. 2012.

Apr 2012 the swelling in the right armpit became very painful and was extremely painful to touch when the GP examined it.

The pain affects my right-side of neck and right shoulder blade.

I was told to NOT TO USE my arm above my waist and to take painkillers and Iburfen.

I was referred to the Lymphoedema Clinic in Jan. 2013 I will be having K...Tape applied.

I had blood tests for arthriis the results are clear.

I had Ultrasound at the hospital Cancer results are clear.

Have been told swelling and pain could be due to:

1. It could have been a strain or infection.

After several weeks of resting and taking tablets the pain in the armpit, shoulder blade and neck have reduced but returns if I over do things with my right arm.

The soft swelling in the armpit is still visible and now just tender to touch.

I would like to know does anyone else have these symptoms.

1. What is causing the swelling and why?

3. Why do I only have the swelling only in one armpit? - I am right-handed.

3. Is the swelling caused by the Lymph Nodes?

4. Is the swelling part of the blocked lymphatic system.?

What do I need to do?

6 Replies

My left arm/hand lymphoedema followed mastectomy and removal of some lymph nodes. I occasionally get swelling in the area around the scar as if lymph fluid has shifted back from my arm to this new site. I'm sure the lymphoedema clinic will be able to help with your questions. In my experience it is only when you speak to lymphoedema experts, whether physios, nurses, doctors or professors, that you begin to get your questions answered. Good Luck!


hi alfie

sorry you're feeling so cr*p

it could be that your lymph nodes are working great but tring to get rid of a long-lasting infection - has that been ruled out?

i agree with lovesradio tho - impossible to know for definite what it is, but if it does turn out to be lymphoedema you're with the right team ... finally!

you've done the best you can by asking for info & support - i hope the lymphoedema team & gp between them manage to help you work out what's happening & what the options are for doing sthg about it


thanks guys

Lymphoedema Nurse says it could be due to infection.

I have been taking fluoxicilin and paracetamol and was told to not use the arm above the waist for a few weeks.

I can use my arm more now and it is less painful just the armpit is just tender to touch.

Lets see what the tape does in Jan. 2013


Hi Alfie19

you may have a kind of infection called cellulitis - take a look on our website for advice about how best to manage it.


i find the swelling does vary depending on the bra that i am wearing, also the time of the month, i have however just starting to go for a relaxing swim and find this really helps but do not over do it. good luck it is really annoying and painful but some days are good and some not so good


flu symptons getting on my nerves now feel so low with these acheing joints


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