Have you ever had extreme swelling or disfigurement on your knee, ankle, or arm? If the answer is yes, you may have Lymphedema.
“Lymphedema is when there is an abnormal accumulation of swelling in a limb, that doesn’t go away.
The reason why this happens, and it’s different than other kinds of swelling, is that you get a buildup of debris; little broken down pieces of cells, proteins, viruses and bacteria, in the skins and tissues of your muscles,” explains Casey King, a Lymphedema Therapist at Newman Regional Health.
Typically, your body will filter out the debris through your lymph nodes. But, like Donna Stephens from Emporia, when that doesn’t happen, you can experience extreme swelling and deformity.
“The swelling would get so bad it would hurt. It would be like blowing up a balloon. And it wouldn’t go down, all the way,” said Stephens.
“She had a knee replaced and her lymphatics never rerouted properly. So when she came to me, it was about nine months after the surgery. Her leg was pretty big around the knee, and down around the ankle,” said King.
At Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Casey King is offering Complete Decongestive Therapy, which is considered the gold treatment for Lymphedema.
“She works her way down and would do a massage to it and then she would wrap it up,” said Stephens.
“You will direct fluid from the areas that are damaged, to areas that are not damaged,” said King.
Through therapy, Casey was able to drain over 2 liters of fluid in Donna’s swelled up knee.
“As soon as the limb is down as far as we’re going to get it, then we wean off until they are managing on their own,” said King.
Donna is now managing her pain on her own, living a more comfortable life.
King said she may have to every now and then, do a little self-drainage and use a compression on her own.
“I feel great. It swells up a little bit, but doesn’t swell up near as much. All I have to do is wrap it every so often,” said Stephens.
For more information on Lymphedema Therapy offered at Newman Regional Health visit newmantherapyservices.com and call Casey King at 620-343-6800 ext. 2246.