Q: “Can I exercise with a PICC line? I’ve got this PICC line in my right arm and still want to exercise. Is it safe, and what precautions should I take?”

A PICC line is a catheter that allows medications and fluids to be delivered into the body. The convenience of a PICC line is significant because it prevents frequent sticks from IV line placement. But can you exercise with a PICC line?

In most cases, you can exercise your arms with a PICC line in place. I encourage you to talk first with your doctor about exercising with a PICC line in place because every situation is different. However, exercising with a PICC line is “mostly” safe according to Julie Gralow, M.D of BreastCancer.org.

You must remember that a PICC line is a foreign body that is in one of your blood vessels. It can move back and forth, or be pulled out if care isn’t taken when moving your arm. This can lead to serious complications including bleeding, blood vessel damage, blood clots or pain. Therefore, avoid lifting heavy objects, and avoid fast, swift movements with your arm they may lead to migration or dislodging of the PICC line. Focus on slow, controlled movements with light to moderate weight. You should always exercise with a partner in case a complication arises. If the line feels abnormal, is painful or feels uncomfortable do not hesitate to call your doctor.

Again, if you do have pain, swelling around the PICC line site, or noticed that PICC line moved, immediately consult your doctor. Do not hesitate to call 911 if symptoms are severe or you exerperience chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. I can’t stress this enough.

By the way, I’m glad a patient with a PICC line is wanting to exercise!

Have you exercised with a PICC line? Share your thoughts below.