“Why do I have to wash my compression garment every time I change it?”
Compression garments are made of elastic materials that stretch out after wearing. Washing them daily helps them to retain their elasticity as well as removes perspiration, bacteria and dead skin that accumulate inside the garment from normal wear.
“Why do I have to exercise?”
Appropriate exercise stimulates the flow of lymph. Muscle contraction and changes in pressure in the chest from deep breathing cause changes in pressure on the lymphatic vessels. When the muscles contract against the compression of the compression bandages or compression garments worn on the affected limb this creates changes in tissue pressures that help the lymph to flow.
“Why do I have to wear my Compression garment/bandages when I exercise?”
When an individual has lymphedema, the pressure of the edema stretches out the skin so that it no longer provides a firm surface for the muscles to contract against. Exercise causes increased blood flow which caused an increase in lymph load in an already compromised limb. The compression of the garment/bandage provides a “new firm skin” for the muscles to contract against so that the pressure will be exerted on the lymph vessels and the fluid will move. Without the garment/bandage, the skin will just stretch and the force of the muscle contraction will not be translated to the lymph vessels. The involved limb could swell more if you exercise without compression.