Sore arm


I am unable to fully stretch my arm and notice there is a large cording leading from my elbow to the armpit.  I have continued with the arm exercises and also massage from the wrist downwards but it has not helped.  What advice can you give me please?


  • Hi Flegon,

    Thank you for getting in touch with us. My name is Donna, I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurses at Macmillan Cancer Support. I see you are a member of our Breast Cancer forum; I hope you find it a helpful and supportive space.

    I am sorry to read that you are having some issues with cording after treatment for breast cancer.

    Cording, also known as axillary web syndrome, can sometime develop as a side effect of sentinel lymph node biopsy or axillary lymph node dissection. It can have an impact on a person’s range of movement and activities and can affect quality of life.

    Its good to hear that you have continued with the arm exercises and massage after treatment as these are the first steps in improving the range of movement and reducing the discomfort. There are particular stretches for cording which you may wish to try. However, we would always advise contacting your breast care nurse for advice and support before changing your current exercise routine.

    If your condition does not improve, you may request a referral to a specialist physiotherapist for further advice and a treatment plan that’s right for you.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch if you require more help and support.

    Best wishes,


    Donna – Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

    Ref: DW/LA