5 strategies to help lower limb swelling

Have you noticed lately that your socks are tight and leave a mark when you take them off at the end of the day?

Or have you noticed your pants feel more snug as the day progresses?

This may be the blog for you!

Your legs swell for two main reasons:

1. Fluid build up (oedema)

This happens when the tissues or blood vessels in your legs hold more fluid than they should. This can happen if you simply spend a long day on your feet or sit for too long. But it may also be a sign of a number of other things, including pregnancy or serious underlying medical conditions, like heart or liver failure.

2. Inflammation

This happens when the tissues in your legs get irritated and swollen. It’s a natural response if you have an injury, like an ankle sprain, but it also may be a sign of a more serious inflammatory illness, like rheumatoid arthritis.

5 strategies for reducing swelling in the legs

1. Drink lots of water
I know this seems counterproductive to add more fluid to your swollen body but it helps to flush it towards your kidneys so you can pee it out

2. Place a pillow under your feet in bed
Elevating those swollen ankles helps gravity to shift the fluid back towards your heart and kidneys while you’re sleeping. You should wake up and those cankles should be gone!!

3. Rest with your feet up
Avoid prolonged standing where possible and when you can sit try to elevate your feet on a foot stool or another chair to help drain the fluid back towards your heart and kidneys as above

4. Effleurage treatment from your Osteo
Osteopath’s studies include learning about the pathway fluid takes as it travels through your body. By using our treatment techniques to all of the joints and muscles in the lower limb and using special massage techniques we can encourage the fluid to move from the limbs back to the torso; this can be very effective to shift the fluid out of the lower limbs.

5. Foot exercises used to pump the fluid back up towards your heart
Movement through the ankle joint is our go-to exercise! You can alternate between pointing your toes and bring them back towards your shin for at least 10 repetitions a couple of times a day.

If you have any issues with swelling or fluid in the limbs, please remember that is it important to understand the underlying cause so that it too can be addressed. Ask your osteopath for some guidance, there are some things we can manage together but some things we may suggest you see your GP about. We’ll help you work out where to get started!