What you need to know about Swelling


What is Swelling caused by?

Swelling is also known by the medical term ‘oedema’. It is caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues.  Swelling occurs because the fluid in the affected body part is unable to return to the vascular system from where it came, or it is unable to drain properly via the lymphatic system. There are many reasons why someone may have swelling / oedema. For example, you could have localised swelling due to injury or an allergic reaction. You could have generalised swelling due to an underlying heart, kidney or liver condition. You may also have swelling due to having Lymphoedema.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Swelling may be acute - meaning that you may have had a recent injury, surgery or trauma. You may have pain, discomfort and tight, puffy skin, and reduced range of movement, along with skin that retains a dimple (pits) after being pressed for several seconds – for example, you have just rolled your ankle.  Often the swelling will go away quickly with the right management, such as elevation.

Swelling can also be chronic – this means that the original incident that caused you to have swelling in the first place happened some time ago.  You may still have pain, discomfort, and tight, puffy skin. However, you will also have tissues that may be non-pitting and your skin will have a firmer texture.  Your swelling may now not go away easily, and your limbs may feel tight and heavy.

What can you do about it?

Before you can do anything about your swelling, it is important to know why you have swelling in the first place. Is it acute or chronic? What has been tried before to reduce it, and was it successful? Trained therapists use the following modalities, either singularly or in combination, depending on the cause and how long you have had the swelling:

  • Compression

  • Positioning and elevation

  • Exercise and movement

  • Wound management and skin care

  • Functional goals

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage

If you have swelling, especially if it has been there for some time and is causing your limbs to feel tight and heavy, please feel free to get in touch with our experienced therapist, who can recommend several ways of alleviating the discomfort.


Do you think you might be suffering from Swelling?

We understand how much discomfort this may cause, and that's why we offer a range of treatments to help treat swelling for you or a loved one. Simply get in touch below to ask us any questions and see how we might be able to help you