Is it safe to exercise if you have lymphoedema?
Historically healthcare professionals have been conservative with exercise prescription in cancer rehabilitation. Consequently, there are many myths surrounding exercise and lymphoedema which may leave you confused about which exercises (if any) are safe to do. Many cancer survivors are not meeting standard exercise guidelines. Within breast cancer survivors, strength guidelines in particular are not being met. Today’s guidelines within cancer rehabilitation recommend a return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis as early exercise interventions are showing to be more effective that delayed interventions.
What is lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is a collection of fluid that causes swelling (edema) in the arms and legs.
In this highly informative video, Dr. Nicole Stout, an internationally recognized expert and leader in cancer rehabilitation and lymphoedema, debunks the myths of exercise and lymphoedema. By examining current evidence-based research, Dr Stout describes what we know and what we don't know about exercise and the risk of lymphoedema. She highlights some precautions to take when you exercise, such as wearing a compression garment, and the importance of warming up before and after exercise.
Please discuss exercise with your therapist before you undertake any new activity.
As exercise has shown to be a safe and essential part of lymphoedema management, physiotherapy can play a meaningful role in prevention and treatment
Norah Kyne MISCP is a Chartered Physiotherapist Specialist in Lymphoedema Management at Strive Clinic. To book an appointment or to find out more about our lymphoedema services, please fill out the contact form below.