Woodlands Hospice | Hospice Care for North Liverpool, South Sefton and Kirkby in Knowsely

0151 529 2299

Compression Therapy

Your lymphoedema practitioner may fit you with a compression garment(s) suitable to manage your individual lymphoedema. The majority of which will be ordered via your GP who will issue the prescription for you.  In some patients made-to-measure garments are required these type of garments can take up to 14 days to be tailor-made once the company receive your request.  

Why is compression therapy necessary?

  • The use of compression garments is vital within the management of lymphoedema and it is the ‘mainstay of treatment’ 
  • It is used in long-term management and often to control early signs of swelling to help with prevention 
  • Compression garments can include sleeves, gloves, stockings, tights, toe gloves and a variety of specialist fitted garments for individual needs (made-to-measure garments)
  • Compression garments are designed to prevent further swelling by encouraging lymph fluid to drain away from the affected arm
  • The garments provide a firm resistance against the lymph vessels and muscles allowing the lymph to be squeezed during activity; letting the lymph fluid move more efficiently

The application and wearing of compression garments

  • Apply your compression garment(s) early in the morning when your limbs are less swollen
  • Do not apply straight after a bath/shower as dampness makes it difficult to apply
  • Try turning the garment(s) inside out in half and pull the first half up then ease it up bit by bit
  • Do not turn or roll the top over – this can restrict the blood flow and cause more swelling
  • It often helps to use rubber gloves or gardening gloves with bobbles on the finger tips to help apply garments and allows a better grip
  • There are plenty of application aids available to assist you with applying your garment(s) if you are struggling and your lymphoedema practitioner will order you one that suits your needs
  • Ensure there are no creases or wrinkles in the garment(s) when you have applied it by smoothing out the length of the garment(s)
  • Always remove your garment(s) of a night; unless otherwise advised by your lymphoedema practitioner
  • Apply your recommended moisturising cream every night once you have removed your garment(s) to keeps the skin soft and subtle and monitor for any signs of infection
  • It is important to wear your compression garment(s) all day for as long as possible and follow instructions given by your lymphoedema practitioner
  • You should always be issued with two garments so that you have one to wash and one to wear; you will be given washing instructions by your lymphoedema practitioner
  • The garments are guaranteed compression for up to 6 months, therefore you will require a renewal of your compression garment(s) every 6 months from your lymphoedema practitioner or your GP
  • If your weight changes you may need to be re-measured for a new garment
  • ALWAYS wear your compression garment(s) to travel especially via air, ensure you wear this for at least a few hour before and after and for the full length of the journey
  • REMOVE your garment(s) if you notice any changes in sensation such as numbness, pins and needles, or pain, and/or if your fingers or toes change colour.  If there is any sign of infection (cellulitis) or allergic reactions remove your compression garment(s) immediately and seek an urgent GP appointment for treatment.  Then notify your lymphoedema practitioner as soon as possible