Lymphoedema and my hand???


I’m hoping someone can give me some advice to stop me worrying over nothing. I noticed between my thumb and forefinger I was experiencing a tingly feeling and a little bit of tenderness. I also think it looks slightly swollen in that area, just slightly, do you get lymphoedema in your hand in that area or is it nerve end problems??? Any advice would be grateful, many thanks xx

Yes, you can get Lymphoedema in your hand (there are gloves designed for this). But, don’t jump to conclusions. Go and see your Breast Care Nurse as a first port of call, and she will give you some advice.

Doctors don’t usually know, and (in my area), you can’t refer yourself to an NHS Lymphoedema specialist - and the waiting lists tend to be very long. You can pay/go private - and a consultation will cost about £80.00, but that may be worth it if you are really concerned.

It could also be a trapped nerve - so get advice from someone who knows. OR, it could just be tired through use (esp. if it is your right hand on your bad side).

In the short-term, try resting with it raised on a cushion and do your shoulder/arm exercises.


Hi Annie,

Thank you for your very quick response, I’ve had this feeling for a month or so. Only this part of my hand, it also feels kinda tight, are these symptoms similar to the way lymphoedema feels?
I will see my Bcn next Tues so can ask then am really grateful for your advice,xx

My ‘lymphoedema’ started in my hand, but was more of a pain across the back of the hand - almost like someone had put their elbow into the back of it - accompanied by heaviness in my arm and obvious swelling. I noticed it after I had been using the computer (the mouse particularly).

However, after 4 months of treatment, the jury is still out as to whether I do have the condition.

I’m sure someone else is more reliable than me on this. Glad you’re seeing your BCN soon, and if it is LDMA, it will be early stages and easily treatable

Good luck and try not to worry

Thank you Annie, I really try to be very careful with my arm thats why I’m thinking some sort of nerve issue. Very glad that you are doing well with treatment, hopefully you do not have L either, many thanks again for your advice xx

I have lymphoedema that affects my arm but doesn’t affect my hand, yet I still get lots of pains and tingles in my hand due to nerve compression at the elbow and wrist.

Best thing is to see someone who can measure your arms and see if there is a difference or not really.

Katy that’s exactly the same place my hand swells up and also a bit of swelling on the palm of my hand… It gets worse if I’m using it a lot… Like driving long distances or using the keyboard on my lappie… It’s much better now I have my iPad… I don’t get tingling or pain just a dull ache.

Manny, is the nerve compression due to lymphoedema?
Lulu, Have you had this checked out?

I was thinking that it was normal aches from ops etc because my arm and underarm still feel a little tight, that’s why thinking about nerve problems. When I look at my arm etc I don’t see any obvious swelling, just this little bit on my hand, Lulu I feel as though it’s a tingly burning sensation, not all the time but I am becoming more aware of it a lot more now cause it’s ouchy at times xx

Yes, I have Lymphoedema in my hand. It was as a result of being given the flu jab on my surgery side. I had some pain in my hand initially, but now just some swelling around my wrist, thumb and hand. I have done a bit of research on this, and also saw the lymphoedema nurse yesterday. There was a long wait, but there are things you can do in the meantime. Make sure your whole arm is moisturised daily. There is also a gentle massage technique that you can use to encourage the lymph to drain. It is also an idea to carry antiseptic wipes around, so that you can quickly clean any scratches that may happen

The nurse has also given me a glove to wear, if I feel any increase in swelling, or am doing an activity that is likely to exacerbate it.

It is worth asking to be refered, however mild your symptoms. It may not be lymphoedema, but if it is, it may also be very manageable, so try not to panic. Good luck,

Hi Tracey,

I just remembered that I cut my finger around 2 months ago, it bled heavily but was superficial, went to docs in case I needed a tetanus jab, doc was not concerned with my history, so actually had forgotten about it until I read about your flu jab. I will take your advice because even if it has nothing to do with L, it’s certainly not going to do me any harm, where do I find out about the massage? Thank you so much for helping xx

Dear katy

I have attached a link to our publication “Reducing the risk of lymphodoema” which I thought may be helpful for you.

Very best wishes

BCC Facilitator

Thank you Janet, have read link thoroughly and think I will try and phone BCN today, thank you for your help xx

I’m totally confused about lymphoedema. I’ve been diagnosed with lymphoedema in my hand & arm. I was given a glove & sleeve but the swelling in my hand got worse when i wore them. The lymphoedema nurse told me to just wear the glove (after previously telling me that i couldn’t wear one without the other) So i did as i was told & just wore the glove but everytime i wear it the swelling in my hand gets worse immediately but when i don’t wear it , the swelling goes down & i just have a bit of puffiness in my hand. I have another appt in 2 weeks with the lymphoedema nurse to see what she says but have no idea what advice she’ll give this time.

Hi again,
HJV, when I saw the LN she stressed that everyone was different, and what worked for one person, would not necessarily work for another. I would be tempted to not wear the compression garments, and give them a ring and ask for further advice. Have you been offered the taping? My BC nurse said that has had some fantastic results. My understanding of the glove and sleeve is that it gently encourages the lymph to flow. If you are wearing that, and the lymph is then not ‘unblocked’ further up your arm, it stands to reason that it will increase the swelling.

Katy- I will try to find the info sheet I got on the massage. I looked on the LSI website and could not see anything on there. I went to a Younger Womens BCC forum, and one of the sessions was run by a LN, who was excellent, and gave us a handout with the techniques on. I’ll have a search and look for it!

Tracey x

Thank you so much Tracey, that’s really very good of you xx


There is an american website that has loads of info about LD including simple massage techniques. Definately worth a look. Not sure if i am allowed to post the actual link but it is the standard 3xW stepup-speakout .org


Thank you Andie, will have a look, today I have no symptoms!! What is that all about? Is that normal if it was lymphoedema? I didn’t phone BCN but will see her on Tues, I’m totally at a loss as to what’s going on xx

Hi Katy I saw the lymphodeama physio… For the hand swelling and also coding in my arm… Both unrelated apparently… She did massage and taping but never had any compression glove… She said it was mild but that it was difficult to measure hands anyway as the compression thingies are usually based on the arm measurements and mine was only in my hand and my arms were fine… My hand had never been measured pre LO so no idea what the difference was.

I have had a number of incidents with my right hand and arm after surgery which may have contributed to the LO I got lymphangitis in my arm a few weeks after surgery, I got tracking cellulitis about 9 months after surgery after stabbing my finger on a staple sticking out a magazine, and 6 months later I fell over and broke a bone in my right hand and a year after that I fell ice skating and sprained both elbows and wrists on both sides. Can’t remember when the LO became most noticeable though but remember working in port Glasgow which was 90+ minute drive each way my hand use to swell and ache… it was only one day a week so never got the chance to be that bad as it recovered in-between.

Probably doesn’t help much but glad to hear your getting it checked xxx

Oh my Lulu, what a disaster all these incidents, you have “been slapped with the lucky white heather” that’s our family joke when things go wrong!!
I have not had the swelling since posting, does yours just come & go?
Hope things have been better for you xx

Hi Katy

Yes it does vary… It’s actually swollen and tight at the mo but wondering if its maybe not helped by the taxotere which can cause probs with the hands and fingers… And yeah I do feel like I’m in need of a good roll around in some of that Heather LOL