Better Care

What are the signs and symptoms of lymphoedema?

Signs and symptoms vary from person to person and develop at different rates. People with lymphoedema may describe any of the following:
  • Shoes / clothes/ jewellery becoming tight

  • Feeling of tightness, skin stretching and heaviness in the affected area

  • Swelling that does not go away after sleeping in bed overnight

  • Spontaneous skin blisters leaking clear fluid

  • Skin infections

  • Constant / intermittent dull ache / pain

  • Fungal infections

  • Skin becomes very dry

  • Reduced movements of the joints

  • Fatigue often sets in


Lymphoedema is not a widely recognised condition and can be difficult to diagnose if it’s not particularly related to cancer treatment. The assessing practitioner should take a detailed medical history, noting the symptoms the person reports and take note of the physical signs present.

All people suffering with lymphoedema should have access to a lymphoedema specialist for management of their condition.