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Tendonitis or Lymphedema?

Christinag53
Christinag53 Member Posts: 17
edited February 2022 in Lymphedema


Background: bilateral mastectomy in June. Left sentinel node removed.

For the past 7-8 weeks I’ve been having pain in my left forearm/elbow/bicep. I originally thought it was tendonitis but last night my forearm was swollen. If my elbow is bent it’s not bad but it hurts to straighten or hold anything. I also have a puffy spot under my armpit where the side of my bra hits. That is also on the left side which is where my cancer was. My GP thinks it’s just a fatty spot from surgery. I see my breast surgeon on the 22nd and will go over everything then but wanted to see what you ladies thought.

Comments

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    edited February 2022
    Sounds like it could be lymphedema. Ask the surgeon for a referral to a physical therapist who has specialized training for treating lymphedema. If you don't need a referral I'd go ahead and find the PT on your own. I found mine here: https://clt-lana.org/therapists
  • Cocogal
    Cocogal Member Posts: 25
    edited February 2022

    Christina, I had tendonitis, diagnosed, in my elbow once. It hurt for awhile and then one morning I woke up with it frozen in a bent position. At that point I went to the Doctor and he prescribed ibuprofen and it resolved in a few days in a sling. I don't recall any swelling with it. It was determined I likely got it from too much of a repetitive motion.

    Best wishes

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 12,988
    edited February 2022

    Sorry Christina to hear about your pain. Parakeets has give you a good reference. Here's another. http://www.stepup-speakout.org/

    Please remember, most doctors - even breast surgeons - might only have 15 minutes of education about LE in their 7-10 years of advanced schooling. I would definitely get evaluated & measured by a certified, trained LEPT. Do come back & let us know.


  • mfrube58
    mfrube58 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2022

    Christina - sounds like axillary webbing or cording. I thought my shoulder was dislocated! I have had plenty of elbow pain since being diagnosed with AWS, but my LEPT works it out, and everything feels a whole lot better. I get what feels like tendonitis in my elbow and thumb - and its the cord binding together.

    Good luck!

    Marti

  • Christinag53
    Christinag53 Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2022

    Thanks for the info! It’s still bothering me. I never even thought about cording

  • mfrube58
    mfrube58 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2022

    Christina - it is such a weird thing! And the cording affects all the way down your arm from your armpit - or at least mine does. Elbow, wrist and thumb get really achy - lymphedema therapists are amazing. A good one knows absolutely everything about lymphedema and everything associated with it.

    My MO referred me for PT with a lymphedema specialist - but none of my other doctors seem to know anything about it. Personally, I believe once you go through all the procedures you should automatically be sent to LEPT for information and evaluation. There's definitely a lot of information missing in the treatment process.


  • Christinag53
    Christinag53 Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2022

    Thanks Marti! Definitely going to look into PT. I don’t have any visible signs of cording but the pain goes from my armpit to my wrist and it’s worse around my elbow. I can’t straighten my arm because it hurts too much. I really appreciate the info!

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited February 2022

    I developed cording a few months after my surgery (BMX). Based on this website- the lymphedema forums- I saw an L.T. who made all the difference in about 6 weeks. The outpatient place she worked was closing or we would have gone another month or so. My recommendation would be to see an L.T. as mentioned. Also to keep up the most helpful exercises, likely for life, once you've improved. If I don't keep up doorway stretches and some of the other exercises I do separate from what was recommended my cording comes back. I also did have golfers elbow and do still get some lymph swelling in the other side of that same elbow though L.T. was clear the latter is not lymphedema. I know that puts me at greater risk though. Best to you!