Common causes of swollen ankles, feet and legs !
eating too much salty food. being overweight. being pregnant. taking certain medicines – such as some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, hormone therapy, antidepressants or steroids.
What causes water retention in legs?
Some of the many common causes of fluid retention include: Gravity – standing up for long periods of time allows fluid to 'pool' in the tissues of the lower leg. Hot weather – the body tends to be less efficient at removing fluid from tissues during the summer months. Burns – including sunburn.
Oedema can also be caused by:
an injury – such as a strain or sprain
an insect bite or sting
problems with your kidneys, liver or heart
a blood clot
What is water retention and how can you tackle it?
Water retention is the general term for the build-up of excess fluid in the body, which presents with symptoms such as puffiness and bloating (particularly around your stomach and legs), fatigue and leg pain. The condition can worsen in the summer, just when you want to feel most comfortable with your body.
Luckily, while you should consult your GP for chronic water retention, there are a multitude of simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your symptoms, as the nutritionist Georgios Tzenichristos of the LipoTherapeia clinic explains.
1. Stay active
The more your muscles contract, the more they help your veins and lymph vessels to pump blood and lymph from your extremities, where fluid retention is at its worst, towards your heart. Try walking, running and cycling, or go swimming - where you can reap the benefits of exercise on circulation, without having to fight gravity.
To boost lower-leg circulation, you can also use calf flexions. Attempt 50 repetitions at a time, several times a day, to help drain water from your calves.
2. Have cold showers
Both cold showers and hot-and-cold (contrast) showers stimulate blood and lymph vessel contraction and therefore blood circulation and lymph drainage. Even a legs-only cold shower can help relieve symptoms.
3. Massage your lower legs and thighs
Use firm, long upward movements – or have your partner do it for you – using a small amount of oil. Even a few minutes a day is enough to bring valuable relief and it is much better for water retention sufferers than dry brushing, which can scratch the epidermis
4. Book in for a treatment
A manual lymphatic drainage massage is the treatment of choice for water retention as it is very mild. That said, any relatively firm massage treatment that includes long upward strokes (effleurage) and some kneading (petrissage) will help boost circulation and lymphatic drainage. Or, try pressotherapy (alternate compression therapy), which is a great way to eliminate excess fluid.
5. Keep your legs elevated
If you can, put your legs on a stool while working on the computer and, at night, place a couple of cushions under your legs for half an hour or more, to limit water retention in your extremities.
6. Drink more water
It may sound counter-intuitive, but dehydration makes your body hold on to excess water, thereby increasing water retention. Coffee can make a quick difference in the short term because it is a diuretic, but excessive caffeine intake is known to increase water retention, as is alcohol, so avoid over-indulging.
7. Change your diet
There are a multitude of nutritional changes you can make to combat water retention. First, manage your salt intake, as sodium causes water to be retained in the body. You should decrease the amount of sugar you consume too, as it causes glycation and chronic, low-grade inflammation, both of which affect the function of your blood vessels.
As with any healthy lifestyle, you should also limit the saturated and hydrogenated fats in your diet, as these can cause an array of health concerns. To do so, avoid fatty meat, fried foods and overly manufactured snacks such as pastries and biscuits and replace them with oily fish, seeds and walnuts, which are high in omega-3 fat. This will help control inflammation, reduce blood coagulation and improve circulation.
Is it OK to massage swollen legs? Massaging. Whatever the cause, massages are a fantastic way to reduce swelling in the legs. This helps people who have poor circulation of lymph, the fluid that moves around our bodies collecting waste
Massage is an effective tool to help kickstart heaing through enhancing circulation around an affected area. The most common techniques used to reduce swelling include effleurage, deep strokes and lymphatic drainage. Effleurage is often used to help reduce swelling.
Massage can provide several benefits for swelling legs. Here are some ways in which massage can help:
Improved circulation: Massage techniques, such as effleurage and petrissage, can stimulate blood flow in the legs. This increased circulation helps reduce fluid buildup and promotes the removal of waste products from the tissues.
Lymphatic drainage: Swelling in the legs often occurs due to fluid retention or lymphatic congestion. Massage techniques that focus on lymphatic drainage, such as gentle strokes and pumping motions, can help move lymph fluid through the lymphatic system, reducing swelling and promoting detoxification.
Reduced muscle tension: Swollen legs can cause discomfort and muscle tension. Massage can help relax the muscles, relieving tension and discomfort associated with swelling.
Enhanced fluid movement: Gentle massage strokes can facilitate the movement of excess fluid trapped in the tissues, encouraging it to return to the circulatory system for proper drainage.
Relaxation and stress reduction: Swollen legs can be a source of discomfort and stress. Massage can promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and provide a sense of well-being, which may indirectly help alleviate swelling.
What techniques can be used ?
A manual lymphatic drainage massage is the treatment of choice for water retention as it is very mild. That said, any relatively firm massage treatment that includes long upward strokes (effleurage) and some kneading (petrissage) will help boost circulation and lymphatic drainage
How to ease swelling yourself
raise your legs or the swollen area on a chair or pillows when you can.
get some gentle exercise, like walking, to improve your blood flow.
wear wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole.
wash, dry and moisturise your feet to avoid infections.
stand or sit for long periods of time
wear clothes, socks or shoes that are too tight