Clothing should be loose and comfortable with no tight constrictions on the affected side. Clothing that pinches into the skin obstructs lymphatic drainage (and increases swelling) on the affected side. Heavy breast prostheses can cause the bra strap to cut into the skin. Use padding for the bra straps, bra extenders for tight-fitting bras, and lightweight prostheses. Wear socks without elastic for edematous legs, as well as comfortable, non-constricting shoes. Tight jewelry may also have a "tourniquet effect" and interfere with circulation. If you wear a ring, wristwatch, or other constricting object on your affected side it may cause fluid to accumulate in your finger or hand.
Hobbies, Sports, and Employment
Managing lymphedema requires that you rethink the way you do things. You will be able to do most of the things you have always done with some adjustments to accommodate your condition. For example, if you have lymphedema in your legs and a hobby or sport that requires standing (or sitting) for long periods of time, such as bird watching or sewing, find ways to continue with your activity and elevate your legs periodically (bring a portable chair and elevate on a tree, stump, or stool). Use extra bandaging over your support garment if your affected limb will be in a dependent (down) position for any length of time.
Sometimes uncomfortable feelings come up in relation to lymphedema, such as anger about not being taught prevention prior to the onset of the condition, loneliness and isolation related to being the "only" person with swollen legs or arms, or diminished sexual desire.