Morris Hospital offers treatment program for lymphedema

Morris Hospital Physical Therapists Valerie Skroch (from left), Sarah Gunderson and Belinda Hill have achieved certification in the treatment of lymphedema, a chronic, often progressive condition that results in excess swelling.

MORRIS – Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is offering a new outpatient lymphedema therapy service provided by specially trained physical therapists at the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital, 100 W. Gore Road in Morris.

Lymphedema is a chronic, often progressive condition that can result in excess swelling of the head, arm, leg, and/or trunk caused by disruption of the lymphatic system. Left untreated, lymphedema can lead to cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial skin infection.

According to Valerie Skroch, a certified lymphedema therapist at Morris Hospital, the condition can occur following some surgeries, trauma, disease, or radiation therapy that results in damage to the lymphatic system. The first signs of lymphedema include heaviness, aching, burning, stiffness, and tight jewelry.

“Lymphedema is most effectively managed with a combination of treatments known collectively as complete decongestive therapy,” Skroch said in a news release. “While there presently is no cure for lymphedema, we can help patients effectively manage the condition through clinical treatment, education and support to patients and families, and individual efforts at home.”

Three physical therapists from Morris Hospital achieved certification in lymphedema after completing a 175-hour training course.

Treatment may include manual lymph drainage to stimulate and redirect lymph flow through specialized massage, compression with bandaging, garments and occasionally pumps, exercise to assist the muscle pump to move fluid and improve motion and strength, and skin care to maintain healthy tissue and prevent infection.

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