Skin more sensitive - lymphoedema symptom?

I broke my arm on my surgery side in April this year and had to have a plate (10 stitches!) inserted in the wrist, and had about 8 weeks all told in plaster.

I’ve been watching the arm and it’s definitely very slightly bigger - not to the point where I’d say it looks as if I definitely have lymphoedema - the bcn has said that I “need to give it time to settle down” and as I only had node sampling it’s unlikely that I’d develop le. However, the skin on the back of my hand is becoming quite tender - to the point that a pat or a stroke is definitely uncomfortable (and I feel rotten saying to my OH don’t do that when he’s stroking!) Also, that hand is stiff and slightly puffy first thing in the morning, but clears up as I use it.

Does any of this sound like possible symptoms or am I just being thoroughly overanxious? I need to chase up the bcn, I think, though not next week as with the bank holiday they’ll be up to the eyes, and even less sympathetic than usual.


Hi Lyndu

It sounds as tho’ you need to get your arm checked out - if only to put your mind at rest. I think if you broke your arm in August, it’s had ‘time to settle down’, don’t you? Do you have to go through your bcn to get a referral to the lymphoedema clinic/nurse or do you have another route you can use?

Let us know how you get on.



Hi Bahons,
Thanks for your input, and unfortunately, yes, I do have to go through her. What bugs me is that immediately pre-op, she gave me a long lecture about how forever in the future my arm was as delicate as crystal and the merest scratch or graze had to be washed and covered in antiseptic instantly.

I know that having surgery in a nice sterile theatre is a different matter, but it makes it difficult to take her initial advice seriously if a 5-inch incision and being immobilised for a couple of months really isn’t any risk!


Hi Lyn

That’s a shame about about having to go through your bcn. I’ve met a couple who’ve thought it was part of their job description to ration and slow down access to the lymphoedema clinic/nurse. Any chance you can ambush your onc and get a referral that way?

She’s right about the cuts and scratches and the antiseptic, but you don’t have to molly coddle your arm, just be nice to it. Movement and exercise, especially swimming, is good for is good for lymphoedema (which I hope you haven’t got). Hopefully she did give you exercises and advise you abou not having blood pressure on, and injections in, your ‘at-risk’ arm?

Good luck




Hi lyndu

Breast cancer care have fact sheet about lymphoedema which you may find helpful to read. It can be found by following the link below:-

I hope you find this useful.

Kind regards

BCC facilitator

Yes, she warned me about BP and injections - and thanks, Sam, have read the BCC leaflet. I’m probably panicking early because most people aren’t going to be looking at their arm in quite the same way, or be so conscious of a very small degree of swelling.