How Do Lymphedema Wraps Work

Sep 10th, 2020

Lymphedema is an uncomfortable condition usually caused by damage to or the total removal of a person’s lymph nodes as a part of their cancer treatment. It often affects an arm or a leg, causing one or both of the appendages to swell. It can limit mobility, lead to infection, and negatively impact an individual’s quality of life.

Any lymphedema therapist will advise that one of the best ways to treat lymphedema is with compression. This can come in the form of compression stockings and socks or wraps and bandages. They work by applying pressure to the affected limb.

Lymph Drainage Issues

People who struggle with  lymphedema use compression wraps, sleeves, and stockings to apply pressure to their affected appendages. Most doctors who recommend compression therapy encourage patients to seek therapy every day for about a month to assist with drainage after the initial diagnosis. Depending on your case’s severity, doctors and therapists will tell you to wear your compression wear 24 hours a day or only during your waking hours.

Wearing your compression garments on your affected areas is important because, as you engage in movement or exercise, these layers of padding and short-stretch bandages effectively work to provide the resistance that your lymph vessels need to move. That resistance helps to move fluid buildup from your body’s affected areas and back toward your trunk.

No Central Pump

Lymphedema is not curable and will slowly progress. The treatment goal is to manage the symptoms to lessen the adverse effects of the condition on your lifestyle. The aim of treatment for this chronic condition is consistency. The consistency of treatment slows the progression of lymphedema as much as possible.

The lymphatic system is very similar to the circulatory system. However, an essential component from the circulatory system is missing from the lymphatic: a centralized pump.

In the circulatory system, the heart works to pump blood through your veins to deliver oxygen to your muscles under high pressure. This pumping action is caused by the continual contracting of the heart as it beats.

Conversely, the lymphatic system depends on gravity and muscles’ contractions to move through the body and drain from spaces between cells. Much like the circulatory system, there are valves in the lymphatic system that prevents backflow, but there’s no heart or pump to move fluid through the body.

How Do Wraps Work?

Lymphedema wraps work much like other compression therapy products that apply gradient pressure to your limbs. The compression they create works to alleviate the swelling and discomfort caused by lymphedema. They fit snugly around the afflicted limb, just like more sophisticated compression garments, but are much more adjustable. So, if you prefer more pressure in a specific area, you can wrap that area tighter than other places on your limb.

The Circaid Juxta Fit Lower Leg Bandage features four, durable Velcro straps along the leg’s length, which can be adjusted throughout the day to suit your health needs and level of comfort. This feature also makes it easy to apply without a donning apparatus.

The gentle but firm pressure these garments provide coax lymph fluid back into the lymph vessels to circulate along with the white blood vessels. It can be tempting to forgo these well-crafted pieces of clothing for something like an ace bandage instead. However, you should remember that the pressure that layered bandages apply often creates a tourniquet effect, making your lymphedema worse.

Don’t cut off the circulation to your limb. Instead, exert the use of resting pressure with a short stretch compression bandage or wrap. These day and night garments take the size of your limb into account when supporting the tissue around your swollen arm or leg.

Some days, you prefer the added support of a full compression sleeve, sock, or stocking. Choose a light compression garment with 10-15 mmHg of pressure if you need additional support while sleeping. 

The Last Word

Using lymphedema wraps, stockings, and socks from Mastectomyshop.com is critical to your ongoing treatment. They should be replaced every 3 to 6 months as they may lose effectiveness since you take them daily.

Browse our range of compression wraps, sleeves, and hosiery online, or call us on (877) 413-2272 to speak with our friendly staff about how compression garments can aid your recovery.