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Living with lymphoedema – a patient story

This article provides Andy’s story of living with lymphoedema. The full paper requires a subscription.

“When I was 13 years old, a simple sprained ankle caused swelling in my right leg. This swelling never went down…”

What will I learn about?

A patient’s experience with lymphoedema.

Who is this for?

Lymphoedema patients and practitioners.

Time to read

5 minutes to read.


Title: Living with lymphoedema

Journal: British Journal of Community Nursing

Year: 2017

Month and issue: Oct 1;22(Sup10):S68-9.


At 13 years old, a simple sprained ankle caused swelling in Andy’s right leg. This swelling never went down and after months of research he was diagnosed with primary lymphoedema. From that day, and every day that followed, he has worn support bandages on his whole leg to help reduce the swelling.

At 17 a dislocated kneecap (four in total) caused swelling around the knee, which spread down his right leg.

Andy is prone to infection: “…a little knock, cut and stubbed toe leads to cellulitis—a form of blood poisoning, which, with antibiotics and rest, passes (in most cases). I am fine one minute, but then I feel a burning pain in my leg. Now I know I am in trouble.”

Andy has a supportive wife. “Within half an hour I need to be in hospital on intravenous antibiotics.”  On one occasion he ended up in intensive care with pneumonia after being admitted with cellulitis.

Andy also battles with depression.

“…with the right support from doctors, and my family and friends, I got through it and I am stronger now than I was then.”

Andy living with lymphoedema

The figure above shows Andy and his family from Wilson (2017).