What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition in which protein rich fluid accumulates in extracellular spaces of arms and legs, causing the soft tissues to swell. Most common reasons for this condition to occur include surgery, trauma or because of undergoing radiation therapy.
As Lymphedima is a condition that is chronic in nature, it cannot be cured, but can certainly be improved with various treatments. The main objectives of lymphedima treatment are to remove accumulated fluids, reduce and control swelling and soften your body’s fibrotic tissues.
The lymphedima treatment measures that medical practitioners use, in order to improve this condition, include Complete or Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) in conjunction with Manual lymph drainage (MLD) along with compression lymphedema therapy. Patient’s knowledge about the condition and required self care measures also help contribute towards achievement of the above stated objectives and success of the treatment for lymphedema.
Manual lymph drainage involves combination of light, rhythmic strokes applied along the effected lymphatic vessels and the surrounding tissues in order to remove the accumulated fluids. This helps reduce swelling.
Hydroven 3 Garment
Compression lymphedema treatment involves the use of several compression tools. Compression sleeves, lymphedema pump, arm gloves and gauntlets are a few examples of things used in the treatment for lymphedema. The usage of these compression garments and aids help encourage drainage of fluids along with reduction and prevention of swelling.
The compression aids are sleeves, pads or stockings that are custom fitted, and usually incorporate foam covered by a fabric, as shown in the picture on the right side.
Other than this, bandages are also used in order to induce the desired drainage effect. They work in both cases, when the patient is resting or is in an active mode. These bandages are designed in such a manner that they adjust and fit to the moving or stationary limbs.
A physio tape is a strip of cotton which is mainly used to treat or prevent sports injuries. It possesses elasticity to such a great extent that it can be stretched to 120 to 140% of its original length. One side of the tape consists of an adhesive, so it can easily stick to the skin. Physio tape is mainly available in beige, black, blue and red colors. Sports tapes such as kinesio tape are similar variants. A PreWrap also functions in a similar manner.
A physio tape is specially designed to support muscles during and after play without blocking circulation or restricting movement. It can be used in many situations such as a back ache, tennis elbow, knee pain and a back ache. However, the tape must be cut differently in each situation depending on the muscle area where it has to be used. For instance, an I shape is used for small muscles whereas a Y shape is used for large muscles. Other common shapes are the X and the wave form. A single strip can be used for as long as three days without being removed.
When the body is performing strenuous activities, a large stress is put on the muscles and joints. The areas under maximum stress are usually taped to prevent injuries. The tight physio taping contracts blood vessels underneath the area. This increases circulation, and energizes the cells as more nutrients are transferred. The physio tape also exerts a pressure on the skin, which numbs the area, preventing a person from feeling any sort of pain or fatigue.
Vitality Medical offers a large selection of physio taping, kinesiology taping and other therapy taping products. Their physio tapes have many benefits such as
- 24/7 support
- Several days usage
- Water resistant
Items can be purchased from their online store.
Compression stockings are a specially designed product to treat and prevent venous disorders such as edema, thrombosis and phlebitis. They are like any other stocking in appearance but perform differently. Compression stockings are available in two typical lengths which are knee high and thigh high.
Compression stockings exert considerable pressure on the legs, which reduces the diameter of swollen veins. This increases blood flow and improves effectiveness of the valves. The great length compresses the veins considerably, and the blood is made to pass through narrowed vessels in the entire leg. Consequently, arterial pressure increases, and more blood is transferred back to the heart.
There are two main types of compression support stockings: gradient compression stockings and anti embolism stockings.
Gradient Compression Stockings
Gradient compression stockings apply a non uniform pressure on the leg. These stockings are tightest around the ankles, where they create maximum pressure. The applied pressure is reduced on the knees and thighs.
Gradient compression stockings are worn by an ambulatory person who is inactive, and a person who sits with dangling feet for a long time. This causes blood to accumulate in the feet, and so the calf muscles must be forced to increase their pumping action to transfer blood back to the heart.
A person, who is suffering from lower limb edema, has a higher chance of blood clot formation or has swollen legs due to diabetics or any other reason can also make use of gradient compression stockings.
Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings
Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings or TED compression hoses are generally used by a non ambulatory person. They apply the same amount of pressure throughout the leg, unlike the gradient compression stockings. Hence the compression level is the same.
These stockings are recommended for patients in the recovery phase or going through post surgical treatments.