What is Wendy Williams’ foot condition? What you need to know about lymphedema

By | February 27, 2024

There are several times during the new Wendy Williams documentary that the former host of “The Wendy Williams Show” shows off her bare feet, affected by lymphedema.

From her famous purple host chair, moved to the living room of her New York City apartment, Williams addresses the cameras for “Where Is Wendy Williams?” a two-night event that aired on Lifetime on February 24 and 25, 2024. She first begins by discussing her career and the state of her financial custody, but the conversation quickly turns to Williams’ health before the camera turns on her copying. feet, both of which are swollen.

“This is lymphedema,” Williams says in the documentary. “And I can only feel 2% (of my feet) now. Do you see what this looks like?”

Williams revealed on her talk show in 2019 that she had been diagnosed with the condition. In a TMZ Live interview three years later, the star held her feet up to the camera.

There has been much speculation about Williams’ well-being since her show concluded its thirteenth season two years ago. The star has discussed her Graves’ disease, she has been open about her history with substance use, and on February 22, 2024, Williams’ team confirmed that she had been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia.

Williams’ health is paramount throughout the documentary, and her struggle with lymphedema is one of the ailments the star deals with early on.

Wendy Williams' feet filmed

Wendy Williams’ feet filmed

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic fluid builds up in different parts of the body due to a problem with the lymphatic system, which normally drains the fluid. Symptoms range from swelling, a feeling of heaviness in the affected limbs, decreased range of motion, recurring infections and a hardening of the skin called fibrosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are two main types of lymphedema, Erin Pinto, a nurse at the Jill and Mark Fishman Center for Lymphatic Disorders at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, previously told TODAY.com. Primary lymphedema begins at birth and is the result of a genetic mutation, while secondary or acquired lymphedema develops throughout a person’s life, often as a result of cancer or surgery.

Williams did not specify what type of lymphedema she has.

For some patients, lymphedema can be easy to ignore at first because the swelling may go away overnight, but over time the swelling usually becomes more severe. Dr. Wei Chen, a professor of plastic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in microsurgery for lymphedema, previously told TODAY.com. As fluid continues to collect, it can lead to tissue fibrosis, when the skin thickens and a person’s range of motion decreases.

Lymphedema can cause discomfort and make it difficult for people to participate in daily tasks. The condition also increases the risk of bacterial skin infections.

It’s not just a “benign swelling,” Chen added. “Lymphedema patients are considered regionally immunocompromised.”

What Wendy Williams said about lymphedema in her feet

The documentary shows the pain lymphedema can cause when it affects the feet and legs. At some point, someone has to support Williams as she stands up during a photo shoot. Between takes, she calls for a chair and says, “I can’t do this.” I have to sit back down.”

Physical therapy is a common treatment for lymphedema. During the documentary, she works with a physical trainer who tries to help her improve her stability. But Williams refuses to do the exercises he recommends, fearing she will “fall,” noting that she can only feel 6% of each of her feet.

When she first shared her lymphedema diagnosis in 2019, she said she used a machine to relieve her symptoms.

“Lymphedema, I was diagnosed with it by the way,” she said at the time. “It won’t kill me, but I do have a machine – and how dare you talk about the swelling of it all.”

“If (the swelling in) my feet and lower things never go all the way down, at least I have this machine,” she added. “I sit for 45 minutes a day. And believe me, it’s the best party entertainer ever. Everyone who comes by wants to do this.”

Speaking to TMZ in 2022, she said: “Normally I would be in a wheelchair,” which she repeats in the documentary.

How to treat lymphedema

There is no cure for lymphedema, but there are some options to make patients more comfortable and reduce the risk of complications, such as compression bandages wrapped tightly around the swollen limb, manual lymphatic drainage, and pain medication.

Some lymphedema patients are candidates for surgery, but not everyone is eligible. Compression devices can also help drain lymphatic fluid by applying on and off pressure to the affected areas.

Sufficient exercise can also promote lymphatic drainage.

Many lymphedema patients also need to be treated for infections that start in the skin and can be life-threatening. Treatment usually consists of antibiotics, often administered intravenously in a hospital.

Even with relief, lymphedema is a chronic condition that Williams may always have to deal with. As she says tearfully in the documentary: “There is no cure for this. There is no pill for this.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *