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i have had arm Lymphoedema for about 10. Years following radiotherapy. Does anyone else find stress makes their limb larger?

I have been under extra stress this last week and the top of my compression sleeve seems tighter and hurts in that area. The little rubber grip spots leave redder marks and last night i began my emergency antibiotics as the area seemed much redder than usual.would love to hear from others if this has happened to them

8 Replies

i have it on both legs, when im stressed or done to much yes i get redness and more swelling which usually settles but if if doesnt and its cellulitis i have antibiotics which is the standard treatment. Hope it resolves soon, good luck


Yes without doubt for me, stress impacts on lymphoedema.

I have breast, shoulder and leg lymphodema and my therapist asks what have you been doing recently, its worse? The answer is usually, chasing around too much or stressed at work.

Fortunately for me my therapist gets the system going again and providing I dont keep over doing it, it's ok. I havent yet had the dreaded cellulitis, so consider myself very fortunate.

Hope you manage to relax and it all calms done

Best wishes


I really didn't know this was connected guys, so thanks for this. Our home life has been under pressure for a few years now and i never linked the two together, but now you have told us this i will watch for the trigger factors. I often wonder why my limbs can be good then they look like the are full again, but a month down the line they seem slimmer again., but now that i have found this out i had a look over my diary that i keep and i can lik events to the swelling. Now i have an answer for the Consultant if my meet dates are on hi Stress weeks.


Absolutely! I find my legs are far worse when I am stressed and I also get a lot of pain in my ankles, which is usually a sign to slow down, if I can. It's nice to know it's not just me, which is one of the best things about this site. Thanks to everyone else for sharing their experiences. Although LE is not uncommon it can feel very lonely at times as there is no one nearby that I can compare notes with to try and work out is it the LE, or is it just me?


i'm not sure there's a direct physical link between stress & lymph misbehaving

everyone's mentioned rushing around, & i think that's the problem

when we're stressed we're less likely to plan things properly & come up with creative ideas for solving problems, less likely to look after ourselves physically (eating the 'right' things, looking after our sleep, doing the sld & getting to mld appts, resting, even putting compression garments on carefully & making sure they're on evenly), more likely to overload ourselves & rush around, pacing goes out of the window & 1/2 the time resting does as well, we tell ourselves we're too busy / tired to go for a swim / walk, do some stretches ...... etc etc etc

or is ir just me??

so dealing with the underlying stress - whatever it is we're fretting about - makes sense, so we can get back to looking after ourselves

of course, this is very much a case of 'do as i say, not as i do'!!


I am finding my legs to be more painful if I sit with them down, even with the compression tights or knee highs.They get so blue if I sit still, constantly need to move them.All I can do really is have them up, but its so difficult if in the car or out somewhere.Has anyone found that they get cramp in their ankles.Most nights I am woken with this awful pain in my ankles, makes me scream out and have to stand.All this seems to be getting worse as I get older, I am 62 and have arthritis.


I think the link between stress and increased swelling....for me at any rate, is from increased muscle tension, due to the stress....I have observed this time and time again. I tend to tense up that arm.

if you think about it, over using a muscle can increase the lymph.


hi bestbrush

i've only just seen this & couldn't agree more - pumping a muscle by tensing & releasing it is great for lymph, massages it along a bit, but you & i both tense ...... then forget to release!

i know when i finally let myself notice my shoulders have turned into ear warmers again & drop them back down the lymph will have been trapped with nowhere to go for ages again

it really is a full time job, all this, isn't it?


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