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How to Reduce Swollen Legs & Feet

by
author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
How to Reduce Swollen Legs & Feet
Leg and ankle swelling can cause discomfort. Photo Credit Leg care image by MAXFX from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Lower leg and foot swelling is known as peripheral edema. While this condition is not painful, it can be uncomfortable and swelling may make it difficult to put on socks or shoes for them to fit properly. This swelling can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting or standing and pregnancy. However, in some circumstances, the swelling can be caused by a more serious condition, such as chronic venous, kidney or liver disease, according to Up to Date. If your swelling does not subside with at-home treatments, seek medical attention.

Step 1

Reduce your daily sodium intake. High sodium intake can contribute to swelling by causing the body to retain water, according to Up to Date. Convenience foods tend to be high in salt and should be avoided when you experience swelling. Also avoid adding extra salt to your foods to prevent additional swelling.

Step 2

Drink plenty of water. Typically, you need eight glasses per day, according to Parent Time. Water helps to flush excess sodium from the body, reducing swelling in your feet and legs. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, however, because these drinks contain sodium and can cause you to retain fluid.

Step 3

Elevate the feet each day, according to Parent Time. This encourages fluid to flow away from the feet and legs, reducing swelling. Try lying down and elevating the legs above the heart, according to MedlinePlus.

Step 4

Wear support hose to stimulate circulation, according to MedlinePlus. This type of hosiery helps to encourage circulation and compress the swelling, minimizing its uncomfortable effects.

Step 5

Take short walking or exercise breaks if you have been seated for an extended period of time, such as on a car or plane ride. These walking breaks can encourage circulation and fluid movement in the legs, which helps to pump fluid away from your legs and back to your heart, according to MedlinePlus. The reverse is true if you have been standing for a long period of time. Sit or elevate the legs to reduce swelling.

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