Compression garments, such as a sleeve for an arm or a stocking for a leg, are an important way of controlling lymphoedema. They put pressure on tissues to stop fluid build-up and encourage fluid to drain.
Your compression garment should be fitted by a specialist to make sure it’s effective. If it’s too loose, it won’t help with drainage. If it’s too tight, it’ll restrict blood flow. Your lymphoedema specialist will select the type of garment and the grade of pressure appropriate for you. They will also explain how to put on and remove the garment.
At first, wear your garment for a few hours a day. Then increase this gradually until you can wear it for most of the day. You shouldn’t use a garment if your limb is very swollen or an irregular shape, or if the skin is damaged.
If you can’t wear compression garments because your limb is too swollen, your lymphoedema specialist may suggest using special, multi-layer bandages (compression bandages). These are used with other techniques to reduce swelling so you can use compression garments.