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L-W-O Community

For those living with Primary, Secondary & Paediatric Lymphoedema Online & in the Community


The following exercises use the muscles in your swollen arm and stimulate lymph drainage.  In between each set of exercises, gently shake your arms and hands, this helps to loosen the muscles and helps you relax.

  1. Elbow bend - Bend your arm at the elbow, then straighten it slowly.  If your arm is heavy rest it on a table.
  2. Wrist exercise - Bend and stretch your hand at the wrist so that your fingertips point to the ceiling and then to the floor.
  3. Clenched fist - Slowly spread out your fingers and hold for the count of 5, then make a fist whilst resting your elbow on a flat surface.
  4. Fingers - With your right hand touch your index finger to your thumb, repeat with each of your fingers through to your little finger.  Change to your left hand and fingers.  Finally repeat using both hands.   
  5. Large Circles - Draw a circle clockwise with your right arm x 2.  Repeat anti clockwise x 2.  Repeat with your left arm.
  6. Fridge reach stand with your right arm out, push to the side x 4 relax.  Repeat left side.

Between each hand and arm routine shake your hands - wiggle your fingers

Warm UP

Before doing any form of exercise do some warm up routines.  I usually start with deep breathing exercises which help get the lymphatic system moving similar to the exercises below.

Blow the candle - Stand with your finger out to the front, take a deep breath and blow x 2

Tree hug - Stand with both arms out to the side, take a deep breath in and bring your hands together whilst breathing out x 2


Strenghten those fingers

This page was formerly called exercise and first published in July 2014

The page became part of the Get Moving series on 20th July 2018

On social media L-W-O Community uses the hashtag #getmoving

Page last updated 31/03/2021