Signs and symptoms of lymphoedema
You should have any signs and symptoms of lymphoedema checked immediately.
The signs and symptoms of early lymphoedema include:
Swelling – your clothing, shoes or jewellery (rings or watches) may feel tighter than usual. This may be the first thing you notice before you even see any swelling.
Change in sensation – the limb or area may feel heavy, tight, full or stiff.
Skin changes – the skin in the area may feel tight or stretched and sometimes the texture can feel thicker. Skin may also be dry, flaky, rough or scaly.
Aching in the affected area.
The symptoms vary depending on whether the lymphoedema is mild, moderate or severe. At first, the swelling may not be very noticeable. There may be swelling in the tissue, and soft and gentle pressure might leave a mark or indentation on the skin (pitting oedema).
In later stages, the skin tissue often hardens and there may be more complex skin problems. Occasionally, the skin stretches and breaks, and lymph fluid leaks out onto the surface.
This is called lymphorroea and is due to fluid building up in the tissues or damage to the skin. More severe lymphoedema may interfere with your ability to move about and do everyday things, or it may change the normal shape of your limb.