04 Oct Why Tubigrip is NOT the Best Option for the Management of Lymphoedema Swelling.
Image from www.jobst.com
I do believe that tubigrip has its uses, and I do use it frequently for certain conditions. However, there is one condition I would never use it for, and that is for the management of lymphoedema.
Lymphoedema is a condition where excess fluid collects in the tissues, causing swelling. This commonly occurs when there has been some damage to the lymphactic system, for example when cancer treatment has included the removal of lymph nodes, or if radiation treatment has targeted lymph nodes, or when the cancer itself has progressed to affect the lymphatic system.
Once the lymphatic system has been injured, the person will always be at risk of developing lymphoedema.
If swelling does arise, one of the best things you can do is wear a support garmet to assist with minimizing the accumulation of swelling in the affected limb, and to assist with pushing swelling out of an affected limb.
There are so high quality garments on the market, but to me the most important thing is to ensure it has graduated compression.
Tubigrip is a compression bandage that you buy on a roll, and it is a very inexpensive compression option. However, it is not graduated compression. Which means that the amount of compression is the same along the length of the bandage. The problem with this, is that there will therefore be more compression at the parts of the limbs that are bigger (eg. the upper arm) and less where it is smaller (eg. the hand). This means that it will push the swelling from the areas of greater compression to the areas of lower compression. So, in the upper arm, swelling will accumulate in the hand. Not what you want when you have a compromised lymphatic system and you are trying to push fluid out of the affected limb.
In comparison, there are products out there that are graduated compression, ensuring even amounts of compression along the length of the limb. A much better option.
Personally, for an off the shelf garment, Independence Australia are a fantastic organization in Australia, who stock Jobst products which are a good off the shelf option, and shipping is free.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us for more information, or see a specialized Lymphoedema Physiotherapist or Occupational therapist.