What Happened To Wendy Williams Feet? Breaking Down Lymphedema

What happened to Wendy Williams feet? I’m Dr. Frita and welcome to this six-part series on Wendy Williams Health. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the notification bell so you know when I drop a new video for each part of the series in light of the docuseries, “Where is Wendy Williams?

She and her family have revealed many of the physical illnesses that Wendy Williams is living with and that has created a lot of questions. So in this video series, I’m going to break down some of the illnesses, and today for part one we’re talking about lymphedema and Wendy Williams’ feet.

So Wendy has been talking about her lymphedema for years. You’ll notice back on The Wendy Williams Show, she started wearing flat shoes and now she’s been pulling off her shoes in interviews on Zoom, when people go over to her house in the docuseries, and when Angela, formerly known as Black Chyna went to her house, she was quick to pull off her shoes to show us her feet. What you’ll notice is that her feet have the signs of lymphedema.


what happened to wendy williams feet breaking down lymphedema

What Is Lymphedema?

So you might be thinking, what in the world is the lymphatic system? You may think you have no idea, but you do. You know how if you ever get sick, like if you get a cold or a sore throat, you get swollen glands. These bean-shaped tissues in your neck, or maybe even you’ve had some under your arms, or you feel like a swelling or like a little bean-shaped object. Even in your groin if you’ve ever had inflammation, you feel a little swollen, sometimes maybe tender or painful bean-shaped tissues. Well, those are lymph nodes and those are part of your lymphatic system.


lymphatic system


The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, organs, and tubes that help to drain lymph and send it back into the main bloodstream. So lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system as well as lymph vessels, which are like the tubes that connect the lymph nodes.

When you get a blockage or some type of damage of this lymphatic system, then that lymph is no longer able to be properly drained, and so you get a buildup in the soft tissues and you get swelling like what you see in Wendy Williams feet. The lymph is a colorless fluid that is protein rich and it’s full of white blood cells like your T cells, and your B cells that help to fight infection. When this lymph is going through your lymph vessels, it gets filtered by your lymph nodes and they contain these white blood cells that help to fight infection and even help to fight cancer.

So it’s really an important part of your immune system. Primary lymphedema is not all that common.  About one person is affected out of every 8,000 worldwide, and women tend to be affected more often than men.


Lymphedema Symptoms

Swelling In Arms or Legs

As far as the symptoms of lymphedema, it usually affects a limb like an arm or a leg, and it will cause swelling.  In the case of Wendy Williams, you see the swelling of her feet and her ankles, so it can cause that type of swelling. It can even cause a tightness or a heaviness in the limb. You can also get a thickening of the skin, and you can get fibrosis, and sometimes the skin gets very thick and the pores get large and it almost looks like an elephant’s skin in the affected area.

Distortion of Limbs

You can also get a distortion of the limbs, for example, with very swollen feet from lymphedema. The toes can start to become unaligned. It can be caused by cancer or a tumor that causes a blockage of the lymphatic system. It can also be caused by radiation. For example, for people who are treated for breast cancer, if they get radiation that affects the lymph nodes, it can cause swelling in the arm.


parasites in the lymphatic system

What Causes Lymphedema?


Also, in surgeries for breast cancer, for example, oftentimes the lymph nodes are removed. That can affect the drainage and you can still get that swelling of the arm or a lymphedema in the arm related to cancer. So other tumors can cause blockage as well.

Parasites In The Lymphatic System

You can get parasites in the lymphatic system and they can cause lymphedema or anything that injures the lymphatic system. These are some of the secondary causes where you have primary lymphedema.

Congenital or Developments Later In Life

It can be congenital, meaning you’re just born with problems with your lymphatic system and we don’t necessarily know why. Or there can be other issues where it just develops later in life and there’s no definitive cause. You just have it. Those are the cards you’re dealt.


Lymphedema Risk Factors

Advanced Age

As far as risk factors, in addition to the ones we just discussed, advanced age can be a risk factor for lymphedema. Also living with obesity, especially if you have a BMI of greater than 50.


williams health breaking down the illnesses

Lymphedema Treatment

As far as treatment for lymphedema, certain treatments can help to make it better.

1. Wearing compression garments or compression stockings can help.

2  Exercise for those lymph vessels to move the lymph throughout the body so it can return to the bloodstream. The muscles must contract. So doing certain exercises can help with lymphedema.

3.  Sequential pneumatic compression devices can help.

4. Certain surgeries like microvascular surgeries can help in certain cases, but if the lymphedema is advanced to the point where there are no open, no patent lymph vessels, then oftentimes that surgery is not very helpful.


If you suspect that you or a loved one has lymphedema, please be sure to consult your physician right away. I’m Dr. Frita. This was part one: “What Happened to Wendy Williams feet“, of the six-part series, Wendy Williams Health: Breaking Down the Illnesses. Click here to binge-watch the entire series.

Dr. Frita - Frita McRae Fisher, M.D.
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Dr. Frita - Frita McRae Fisher, M.D.

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