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Topic: Sleeve but no glove?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Jun 22, 2018 10:15AM - edited Jun 22, 2018 10:19AM by Manuella

Manuella wrote:

Hey everyone, I have very mild swelling in my inner forearm and trunk (back and sides, no breast). I have a sleeve, glove, night sleeve, underarmour shirt and getting a LE bra for flying. I wear my sleeve/glove for traveling (which I do a lot), for exercising and whenever my arm feels funny. I had managed to keep swelling at bay for over a year this way, but have very light pitting now in inner forearm (it indents after 10-15 secs of pressing and stays that way for maybe 45 secs?). Anywho, I told my LE therapist (I see one at MSK) that I hate wearing both glove and sleeve in summerand she suggested I try with just the sleeve since I don’t have hand swelling but that scares me! Wondering if some (a lot?) of you go around with just a sleeve on regular days and wear both sleeve and glove mostly when traveling/excercising? I’m afraid my hand will swell and that the LE will “spread” there. Thoughts?

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Jun 22, 2018 11:12AM - edited Jun 22, 2018 11:13AM by mittmott

I once slept in my sleeve with no glove and woke up with a hand that looked like a balloon.. I had a custom sleeve made for me it looks like a giant potholder. I also saw, don't need to anymore, the lymphedema person at MSK but in Commack I have a very very mild case, so I can't compare it to anyone else, but they told me to never use just the sleeve.

Dx 9/2000, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/9/2000 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 9/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3 Surgery 9/2/2006 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Tissue expander placement
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Jun 22, 2018 12:14PM Binney4 wrote:

Manuella, I agree with mittmott--never the sleeve without the glove, especially if you already have swelling in the forearm. My first LE therapist sent me on an airplane flight with just a sleeve and my fingers looked like sausages. Then I had to fly home again and sat on my hand all the way back (4 hours). Here's an article about it written by Andrea Cheville, an MD and medical researcher who specializes in LE:


As for dealing with the summer heat, it really is the pits. Here are some summer-time tips:


Hope some of that helps! Hugs,

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Jun 22, 2018 12:43PM Outfield wrote:

I pretty much never wear my glove - I just couldn't function that way - BUT my lymphedema is usually very mild and I keep an eye on my hand. If it's at all swollen, I go straight to something that includes my hand. I've been doing this about 7 years, so far so good. The thing is, this is just me and my lymphedema. You do have to know that you're taking a risk if you do it, and that even if some of us are out here doing OK with that risk, it's no guarantee.

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Jun 23, 2018 08:11AM Denise-G wrote:

Manuella - I used to have severe hand swelling, but it toned down completely and is now all in my arm. For the past 4 years I have only had to wear a sleeve with no gauntlet or glove. If I am doing something really vigorous like gardening I wear the gauntlet while doing it. Everyone is different and by trial and error you will find what works for you with the help of your LE Therapist.

www.denise4health.wordpress.com my BC Blog with over 200 informative posts about all aspects of BC - stop by! Myself, my mom, and sister were all diagnosed with BC within 3 years. What a ride! Dx 10/10/2011, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 11/23/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/27/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/28/2012 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 10/11/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 28, 2018 04:10AM Katiejane wrote:

Manuella, I am 11 years out and have always worn just the sleeve on both arms. I have never worn a glove or gauntlet. I do wear a Jovi PAC sleeve at night but I do wrap my fingers and hand before I put on the sleeve. I have never had any hand swelling

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 29, 2018 12:54AM Fitz33 wrote:

My Lymphadema Doctor told me to only wear the sleeve, no glove so that's what I do. My hands have always been a bit swollen since chemo (7 years ago) and I tried a glove but it didn't do any good. I really hate wearing the sleeve in the summer as it seems by body temp goes up about 5 degrees. My doctor tells me not to,think about it. Yeah, right.

Dx 9/14/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 4/23/2011 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 8/31/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 30, 2018 02:05PM Morwenna wrote:

It's ok to experiment so long as you are vigilant. General advice is always not to wear the sleeve alone but many people are fine with a gauntlet, less cumbersome than the full glove, and I've met quite a few ladies with mild lymphedema who claim to never wear anything on their hand and who insist their hand never swells.

Once you have lymphedema it is not "curable" but the goal is always to push it back to the "latency" stage, ie no swelling.

If you try a short period without your glove and your hand swells then stick your glove back on pronto. Even more important on situations that tend to make you swell.

NB elastic compression garments are designed for dynamic use with the arm in motion. If you wear them for sleeping the resting pressure becomes too high and a circular knit garment I'm particular is liable to pull tight here and there and has a tourniquet effect, which can exacerbate the problem.

Dx 11/8/2012, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 11/23/2012 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Surgery 12/12/2012 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 1/9/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 7/22/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/6/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Mar 12, 2019 11:46PM joannnc wrote:

I got LE in 2004.  I only wore the sleeve.  I did have a glove but only wore it for flying (about 2x a year).  I do not even know it was the right size. 

Anyway, in 2014 by hand blew up terribly.  I went to a therapist and needed to be wrapped for several weeks.  Now I wear a Juzo compression glove expert in size 4.  I had a very hard time adjusting to the glove.  I felt like I had LE all over again.  Every case is different.  I see women who only wear sleeve.  However, I do live in a small town and do not see people very often with LE.  Good luck to you whatever you decide.  Sometimes I do not wear compression; however, I never wear sleeve without glove.  

JoAnn Dx 3/17/2003, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/22 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2019 01:29AM - edited Mar 13, 2019 01:31AM by JO-5

Everyone is different! I have a glove but hav never worn it.

No matter how much my arm swells my hand has never swollen at all and my arm has NEVER swollen a hands width from the wrist.......even when I had that awful flair last May from the deer fly bite.

(My arm looked like Popeye all last Summer)

My therapist said she has several patients like that....and she says they think some people have an extra lymph vessel in that area that keeps it from swelling.

She told me it was ok to wear the sleeve without the glove......unless I was flying or going somewhere that was high altitude (she mentioned places like Pikes Peak)

She also showed me massage for the hand and I do it even though my hand does not swell......just in case.


Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.

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