Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tips For Lymphedema Skin Care

The treatment of lymphedema often focuses on controlling the swelling and on avoiding further injury to lymph vessels. This is why many patients with lymphedema know about lymphedema pumps and about the need to avoid tight clothing and compression, such as blood pressure cuffs. But excellent skin care is also an important part of lymphedema treatment. The central reason skin care is important in lymphedema is to avoid infection.

The following are several useful tips that can help lymphedema patients take better care of their skin: Use a moisturizer – Daily use of a moisturizing lotion is very important in keeping the skin elastic and healthy. We usually recommend that lymphedema patients use lotion twice a day all around the affected limb. Avoid using lotion between the toes because that could promote a fungal infection (“athlete’s foot”). Examples of moisturizing creams are Amlactin and Eucerin.

Avoid injury – The main hazard with lymphedema is skin infection. Skin injury is a way for infection to enter the body. Avoiding injury means avoiding infection. Sources of injury are all around. A common example is shaving your legs with a razor. Patients with lymphedema should use an electric mechanism.

Think about toenail hygiene – As can be seen in the picture patients with leg lymphedema may have nail changes. The toenails may thicken. Having a podiatrist take care of your toes can help you avoid much grief from accidental injury. Remember – avoid injury!

Examine your feet every day – Most people do not look at their feet. At least not every day. But foot examination can be critical in lymphedema patients. By examining your feet or having someone examine your feet every day you will find problems very early as they come and avoid severe problems from developing.

If you have questions about skin care for your lymphedema, call the Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness team at 713-623-4247, and speak with our BOC/ABC certified custom garment fitter, or one of our certified lymphedema massage therapists. We would be happy to help you find answers to your important questions!

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