What are the Signs of Lymphoedema:

  • A sense of fullness or pressure in the limb. The sensation of swelling may be present before it can be seen. Sometimes the first symptom is a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the arm or leg. Don’t ignore these symptoms. Seek treatment before it becomes more serious.
  • Puffiness, swelling, or an increase in size anywhere in the quarter of the body that that has had radiotherapy or surgery. Radiation and/or surgery to the armpit may result in arm lymphoedema (but may affect the whole quadrant eg chest and upper back on the affected side), while radiation and/or surgery to the groin may result in lymphoedema in the leg (and may also include the whole quadrant eg buttocks and lower back/ abdomen on that side). Lymphoedema may also be found around the scar, and in the breast. People that have undergone surgery and radiation to the neck may develop lymphoedema in the neck and face. Lymphoedema is also occasionally seen in the genitals.
  • Pins and needles, or numbness in the limb may be a sign of lymphoedema. This should be discussed with your doctor or health care professional as there are also other causes for pins and needles and numbness.
  • A feeling of heat in your arm, or the affected area of your body. Redness may or may not also be present (redness may indicate an infection as well).
  • Pitting Oedema -that is, if you press into the swollen area with your finger and hold it a moment, the skin does not bounce back immediately (it leaves a dent/imprint of your finger).
  • Aching in the limb, shoulder, or the back of the shoulder (if the lymphoedema is in the upper quarter) or in the buttocks (leg lymphoedema).
  • A sensation of “bursting” in the limb