Lymphedema – Leg Exercises

Important Note:
These exercises were designed as a place to start to address your symptoms. These exercises should not be performed or continued if they cause or increase your pain in any way. Using these exercises for self-management of your symptoms does not replace the value of being assessed by a Health Professional.

1. Diaphragmatic breathing

Reps: 5-10
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your back in neutral position (slightly arched).
Place your hands on your stomach and concentrate on your breathing.
Inhale while expanding your stomach without any trunk or chest movement and exhale without forcing.
There should be a short pause after each exhale before the next inhale.

2. Marching on the spot

Reps: 5-10
Stand up with your feet about hip width.
March on the spot, lifting your knees high.
Keep the body straight as you do the exercise.
You can hold onto a stable object such as a chair for balance.

3.Standing knee flexion

Reps: 5-10
Stand on the uninvolved leg, using a chair to maintain your balance.
Bend your knee up through the available range, keeping your knees together and without bending your hips.
Return to the starting position and repeat.

4. Seated hip flexion

Reps: 5-10
Start by sitting upright in a chair.
Slowly raise your leg up, then return to the start position and repeat.

5. Knee extension

Reps: 5-10
Sit down on a chair with your back straight. Fully extend one leg then go down and repeat.

6. Resisted plantar flexion

Reps: 5-10
Sit straight on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Flex the ankle to go on the tip of your toes, raising the heel off the ground. Lower and repeat.

7. Toes extension

Reps: 5-10
Lift your toes up towards you as far as you can.
Relax your toes and repeat.
When you lift up your toes, keep your ankle in a relaxed position. Lift only your toes.

8. Active dorsiflexion/plantar flexion

Reps: 5-10
Sit on a table or a firm bed with your legs straight and ankles over the edge. Perform dorsiflexion and plantar flexion alternately by bringing your toes toward you and away from you.

9. Ankle circumduction

Reps: 5-10
Lie on your back or sit on a raised surface so that you can lift your feet off of the floor.
Move your toes up, in, down, and out in order to form a circle with your foot.
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