Lymphedema, a swelling of tissue related to the lymph glands, usually affects the legs or arms. This condition often looks more serious than it actually is, so we don’t recommend searching for photos on the internet. With proper care and by following your doctor’s advice, lymphedema can be manageable, and you can continue with your regular activities.
However, one of the biggest problems is that your shoes may no longer fit. Don’t despair, as there’s an easy solution. Today we have a wider choice of lymphedema footwear than ever before, and most of these shoes are very comfortable, and many are very stylish. Let’s start from the beginning, and see what lymphedema is and how it manifests.
What Is the General Definition of Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling, usually in your legs or arms, due to a compromised lymphatic system. Your body can’t get rid of excess lymph fluid, so it stays in some regions of your body, causing them to swell and grow larger.
There are three stages to this condition, although they may not be experienced by every patient. The first stage is characterized by tightening of the skin and mild swelling. In the second stage, swelling becomes more severe, and your limbs could enlarge.
The third stage is the most severe, and it’s called the lymphostatic elephantiasis stage. This is when limbs become so large that they make daily activities a challenge to perform. Before you panic, you should know that most people manage to keep the condition under control, so it never reaches the third phase.
What are the Causes of Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, which often happens after your lymph nodes get damaged. Lymphedema usually occurs after cancer treatment, as those patients often need to have some of their lymph nodes removed. Other causes include severe infection of the lymph nodes and radiation treatment.
There is also primary lymphedema, although this condition is uncommon. It can be caused by the following diseases: Milroy’s disease (it usually affects children), Meige’s disorder (it usually appears in puberty or during pregnancy), and late-onset lymphedema, which is the least common and affects people over 35. There’s also a correlation between lymphedema and diabetic neuropathy.
What are the Symptoms of Lymphedema?
Most people feel the first symptoms in their feet or hands. It starts with swelling that can range from mild or barely noticeable to very severe, causing you problems in daily life. Your legs or arms may feel heavy and tired, and you may feel aching and discomfort.
The most severe symptom of lymphedema is when your legs or arms swell so much that they become large and difficult to move or use. A change in size usually isn’t that dramatic – photos on the internet typically show the most severe cases. Finally, your limbs can become prone to infection, so you have to be very careful.
What Treatment Is Available for Lymphedema?
The most common treatment is complex decongestive therapy, which consists of two phases: reducing and maintaining. In the first phase, you’ll get special lymph draining massages to decrease swelling and discomfort, and you’ll learn exercises to improve the internal pumping mechanism. The second phase consists of using bandages and lymphedema foot wrap in order to distribute the compression. Also, your doctor may prescribe using some foams and balms, as well as a special diet. In this phase, the most important thing is to be patient and continue the treatment, even if you don’t see any improvement immediately.
If none of this helps, there’s an option for surgery, which is usually recommended only to people with severe lymphedema that’s preventing them from performing daily activities. Bear in mind that surgery is not curative, but it can provide relief and focuses on reducing the excess tissue, either by debulking or liposuction.
Is Lymphedema the Same as Edema? How Can You Tell Lymphedema from Edema?
Lymphedema and edema can have similar symptoms, such as swelling, but the main difference is the cause.
Edema is caused by excessive fluid that often occurs when our body is fighting something that it perceives as a threat – inflammation, problems with blood circulation, injuries, etc. Edema is easier to cure than lymphedema, and its symptoms sometimes resolve on their own.
On the other hand, lymphedema is caused by excessive lymph fluid, as a result of surgery, lymph node removal, or a severe infection. The patient’s lymphatic system isn’t able to manage that amount of lymph effectively, so it stays in our bodies. Lymphedema is sometimes called lymphatic edema, which means edema is a more general term than lymphedema.
All in all, it’s hard to tell lymphedema from edema, so it’s essential to visit a doctor who can tell you for sure. It’s also essential to give them your medical history, which may help them figure out the cause of the swelling.
You shouldn’t try to treat the condition on your own before you know what is causing it, as treatments are very different, and what’s good for edema could make your lymphedema even worse, and vice versa.
Does Lymphedema Always Cause Swelling?
No, early lymphedema doesn’t always cause swelling. Some of the other symptoms include feelings of tightness and unpleasant sensations. If you have mild lymphedema, it can take years until swelling becomes noticeable, and your legs or arms start to enlarge; it may never happen if you recognize the condition in its early stage and treat it.
You just have to know what to look for. There’s a reason why this condition is sometimes called lymphedema foot – it usually starts there. Due to poor circulation and gravity, people typically notice lymphedema in one foot, and then the swelling can slowly spread to other parts of your leg as well.
Shoes for People with Lymphedema
While some people have swollen arms, the majority of people struggle with lymphedema in the foot and ankle. The good news is that footwear plays an essential role in managing this condition. It can not only relieve the pain, but it can help you return to your daily activities and everyday life.
There are various types of shoes for people with lymphedema, from therapeutic to sports shoes. Don’t worry about style, as there are also many cute shoes for lymphedema, so no one will be able to tell whether you have this condition.
Women’s Lymphedema Shoes
When it comes to lymphedema shoes, ladies can sometimes be particular. That’s fine, because we’ve found three excellent styles. There’s something for every season and every occasion: from everyday clogs, to open summer shoes and walking sneakers.
These soft leather clogs are perfect shoes for lymphedema feet, especially for ladies who need elegant shoes for work. Thanks to their natural material, they’re very comfortable, and they adapt to your feet. They can also stretch with use, which makes them the best pair of shoes for lymphedema wraps.
They come in two colors, black and brown, so you can pair them with almost every outfit. Although they may not be the best footwear for snow, they are water-resistant and could be worn all year round.
Every doctor recommends allowing your feet to breathe, so it can be hard to find women’s lymphedema shoes for summer. Well, not anymore! Here we have open sandals that are very comfortable and supportive at the same time. They have a tall sole for easy walking, and the top part is made of adjustable mash.
They’re ideal for ladies who have lymphedema in toes, as they have plenty of room in that area. You can wear them wherever you want – beach, nature walks, travel – you name it! The best thing is that they come in six attractive colors, and don’t give themselves away as being therapeutic shoes.
Exercise is crucial, especially in the early stages of lymphedema. With exercise, you can keep the condition under control and prevent it from spreading. Moreover, you’ll also feel much better as your circulation will improve.
Lymphedema and walking seem like a painful combination, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a good pair of shoes. These Drew shoes are perfect for all feet conditions, as they’re very comfortable and spacious. The upper part is made of soft mesh that leaves a lot of room for your feet, as well as bandages if needed.
Men’s Lymphedema Shoes
Shoes for lymphedema patients don’t have to look like classic, therapeutic shoes. In fact, they can be divided into two groups, elegant and sports shoes. You’ll now get to see the best of both worlds.
These may be the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever tried on. The upper part is made of super-adaptable mesh fabric that leaves a lot of space for your feet. They’re perfect for walking, and you can wear them all day long, even in the summer. Thanks to the mesh, they allow your feet to breathe.
The extra padded heel helps you walk more smoothly and mitigate any pain you might be feeling. The sole has memory retention that absorbs impact and shock, keeping your feet safe and protected.
If you can’t wear sports shoes to work, don’t worry. Here’s an excellent model with an extra wide toe box. These Drew shoes may be a fantastic choice for tired lymphedema feet. They have a leather lining that adapts to the size of the foot, and if needed, will expand even more. If your feet tend to expand throughout the day, it’s no problem, the shoes will accommodate this.
They come in five colors, so you can match them with your suit or the clothes you usually wear to work.
Women’s Lymphedema Boots
Of all lymphedema products shoes, boots are the most difficult to find. That’s why we’ve chosen this fantastic model for you.
As the name implies, these shoes are suitable for winter activities, including hiking. The shaft measures approximately mid-top from the arch, providing excellent support for your feet. There’s plenty of room, because they adjust with laces.
They’re waterproof, which is essential, especially if you have to wear bandages. You don’t want to be left with wet bandages and damp or wet feet, and that’s why it’s worth investing in quality lymphedema boots for the rainy months.
Men’s Lymphedema Boots
Most lymphedema shoes for men are made of mesh, which isn’t the best choice for winter. Thankfully, there are some waterproof winter models as well, although they may be more difficult to find.
These are a fantastic pair of winter therapeutic shoes. They’re surprisingly lightweight, yet they provide excellent support and protection from rain and snow. They come in three different widths, which makes them a perfect choice for lymphedema patients whose feet may be enlarged.
This pair of shoes will fit you no matter what! They may be somewhat more expensive, but they’re an excellent investment, as they can last for years.
We wish you the best on your journey!