Lymphedema Treatment Guidelines

Lymph Drainage – Example for leg

  • Have client’s leg elevated so it is above their head
  • Start at clavicle – 30 pumps
  • Axillary pump – 30 pumps
  • Inguinal pump – 30 pumps
  • For all of the above, tell the client it will go on for 3-5 minutes, ask them to take relaxed breaths and pump with breaths.
  • Compress- recoil towards inguinal, 3-5 minutes, superficial effleurage

Scar Treatment

  • Describe how the scar looks ( texture, colour), ask about altered sensation, heaviness or numbness
  • Begin with light palpation and go deeper into the scare to determine thickness – state
  • Shift scar in 4 motions
  • Perform joint range of motion with 1. scar in slack 2 hold down proximal scar 3. hold down distal scar
    • State any limitations, check in with sensations created
  • Pick up scar, state if it feels tethered
    • C-Bowing, S-bowing, skin rolling – state if there’s denser parts


  • Check in with client throughout treatment
  • If scar is present, ask about loss of sensation, heaviness, numbness, pain and if you can touch it!

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