cording underarm help

Hi all, hope one of you ladies can advise me. Had mastectomy and node clearance
aug 2006. All was going ok till I fell and sprained wrist on good side a few weeks
ago. Consequently I have been using my ‘bad’ arm more. This has resulted in a sort of pulling and tenderness under my arm and down to inside of elbow where I can feel the vein and see it under my arm. I have no swelling so not lymphoedema.
Consultant said everything fine and result of op. Well it may be fine for him, but he doesnt have to put up with the situation! Have any of you ladies suffered this, and does it settle with time. I,m getting depressed as this really seems like a set back for me. I know theres worse things, but its hard to keep positive at times. Thanks.

Hi Rosie,

I don’t know if it’s the same when the cording appears at a later date. Mine was straight after my mastectomy. I found the exercises given following the mastectomy helped to a limited degree, but what really made a difference for me was swimming. When I restarted swimming after chemo, it all rapidly improved. Now, eight months later it’s still there very slightly in my armpit, but there is no pulling down my arm at all.


Hi RoadRunner,
Swimming is the one thing I have’nt got back into yet, as when I tried it in the early days I got a sort of spasm in my shoulder when pushing off.
I will try it again though, its a good idea, thanks

hi rosie

Can sympathise. Have a physio at my oncology centre who is currently treating me for chording which reoccured during radiotherapy. she has warned that if i injure myself in the future it may reoccur. Sounds as if that has happened to you.
Am doing a mixture of stretching exercises like those during rads and something called connective tissue streching but it seems to work. Is it worth seeing if your GP will refer you to a physio?


Hi Crispy,

Yes, I,m seeing my GP on Wednesday, I will mention this to him. I was worried at first whether streching would make it worse and it would be best to rest the arm?
Your a good bunch to respond so soon, thanks.


I had cording post surgery (WLE and node sampling), went right down my arm to the elbow and was very unpleasant - physio gave me stretching exercises ad massage to help - she sorted me out grand style. She also mentioned swimming would be good but I was too close to rads to get into that.

Hi Rosie,

I too had cording (after WLE and node sampling), think I stopped doing the exercises too soon. Restarted them on advice of consultant as he said exercises were the best way to cure it. I did them religiously then several times a day and (touch wood) my arm has been fine for 14 months now. I found the most effective exercise was to stand sideways on to the wall or a door with arm stretched out (as much as poss) to side. Fingertips should just be touching door or wall and you then ‘walk’ them up and then back down the wall /door. Each day you should aim to ‘walk’ them a little higher. It will hurt a little at first but it definately got rid of the cording after a few weeks.
Hope this helps.
Take care,

Shorty x


Hi lilacblushes and shorty2,

Thanks for the exercise and physio advice. Shall mention this to dr. next week.
Take care,

I second the suggestion of exercises for cording - I did my arm exercises ten times a day (yes really) when I had cording, and one day, the cording just ‘snapped’ and my arm was fine after than and even got through rads with no problems.

Wow flyright, thought I was good at exercising, now I’ll have to think again. Dont think I’ll top ten times a day though.

Best wishes,


As long as you are exercising then you will be some good. I had my 1st appointment with the physio on the Monday morning and I had rads planning on the Friday - at this time I had returned to work post-op but if I had any hope of getting the arm up into the over the head position required I was gonna have to put in some serious amount of time with the exercises or postpone the rads planning. I went to work, told them I was taking the rest of the week off to do physio and made it to planning on the Friday.

The physio was brilliant and booked me in daily to her already overloaded schedule and I did the stretching and straining - and quite a lot of swearing - at hourly intervals. In the space of 4 days we made the level of progress that on a normal schedule would take 6 weeks - but nothing we did was ever detrimental or too much. I still get the rock hard boob and the ache in the arm but that only reminds me to do the exercises. Indeed I am a great source of amusement in our office when they look over and there I am with my arm sticking out to the side and a look of concentration on my face.

Hi Rosebud

Practice does make perfect and I’ll echo everything Lilacblushes says about stiffness reminding you to do the exercises. However although I’ve done some in the office and am expert at fitting in a few in the kitchen whilst waitng for the kettle to boil haven’t worked out how the specialised connective tissue stretching which require me to lie down and use some traction anywhere other than at home (no rude comments please)


Hi - I saw my BCN yesterday as my arm started hurting just like Rosebuds and she told me I have cording and sending me to the physio urgently. It is just a year since my op and I was so glad that I hadn’t had cording after surgery as I had heard how painful it is. I am dreading the physio touching it bit know it has to be done but in the meantime I shall do the exercises you have suggested.


Liz xx

Hi Rosebud and everyone

Sorry to intrude on your thread, but I seem to be having a similar problem to you.

I had mast and recon in Sept 06 with node clearance and have been fine up to now, but I fell off my pushbike and onto my bad arm, when hubby and I were in the Lake District on the 8th June this year and since them I have pain, but mine is from the inside of the elbow to the wrist, and feel really sore under the skin in a line. I don’t know if this is cording?

Any advice appreciated, is it worth going to GP?

Love Deborah xx

Hi Deborah

That is exactly how mine is and the nurse said it was cording. Can you access your breast nurse without going through your GP? might be worth a try.

Liz xx

Thanks Liz

I had a letter from my breast nurse recently, saying she was still there for me if I need her, so I shall be giving her a call today, thanks for your reply.

Love to all, Deborahxxx

anything that is sore is worth getting checked out. Hope you manage to get it sorted deborah