What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is swelling due to some malfunction or abnormality of the lymphatic system.
If the lymphatic vessels or nodes are damaged, removed or overloaded, lymph can accumulate and stagnate in the tissues. The affected area can then become swollen, painful and heavy.
There are a number of situations that can bring on lymphoedema, however surgery to remove lymph nodes or radiotherapy for cancer treatment are the most common.
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition, so having a good management plan is key. Early identification, assessment and treatment usually result in the best outcome, as when the swelling is left untreated, the lymph fluid becomes thicker and more difficult to move.
Lymphoedema can be managed and the swelling decreased by a program which may include a combination of:
- Manual lymphatic drainage (specialized massage)
- Compression garments
- Exercise routine and skin care
Physiotherapists Treating Lymphoedema
Danika Kingston completed her Level 1 Lymphoedema management course through Lymphoedema Training and Education in 2015. She is on the National Lymphoedema Practitioner Register (NLPR).
Gabby Boyce obtained her training from the University of Adelaide in 1993.
Both therapists are members of the Australian Lymphoedema Association (ALA). They participate in regular lymphology professional development courses that are run through the ALA. Their treatment aims to reduce the swelling and to educate the patient in self-management.