How healthy are your legs and does it matter to you?  If you think there might be a problem, would you go and see someone about it – and when? 

This week is ‘Legs Matter’ week.  It is estimated that more than a million people in UK suffer from serious leg and feet conditions which are often untreated.  In Scotland, more than 20,000 people live with chronic leg swelling, sometimes called lymphoedema.  Most of them suffer unnecessarily for years due not accessing the right care.  But treatment is available.  It may not cure - but it can transform everyday living!

Barry Heggie from Grangemouth, a keen sportsman, developed lymphoedema after surgery for a dislocated knee. He was severely debilitated due to a very swollen leg,  recurrent skin infections and intense pain.  Now as part of Legs Matter Week , the 60-year-old from Grangemouth is urging others not to ignore swelling in the foot or leg that doesn’t go down on resting it.

He said: “After my surgery the swelling didn’t go away. It took a long time for it to be recognised as lymphoedema. Treatment by community nurses helped initially, but once I started to get cellulitis every few months, the swelling and pain increased with every infection. I could hardly walk, put on a lot of weight and felt really low.

Things really have improved since I started to get specialist treatment. I didn’t realise how much could be done for lymphoedema and how much I could do to help myself. I haven’t had an infection for over two years. I am still working, trying to lose weight and be more active and feel in more control and supported. “

Barry’s message is “Anyone who has persistent swelling should seek medical advice and if treatment isn’t helping, I would encourage them to ask for a specialist referral.”

As part of ‘Legs Matter’ week, two of our lymphoedema specialist practitioners based at Strathcarron Hospice will be out and about next week in Carronbank surgery.  They will also be available in Blossoms café, Torwood garden centre on Wednesday 5th June between 2 and 4pm.  Or you can find more information on the” Legs Matter” website.