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How To Reduce Swelling In Feet and Legs - Food Pyramid
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How To Reduce Swelling In Feet and Legs

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Fluid retention in legs and feet, referred to medically as edema, occur when fluid is retained in the spaces between body cells. Edema typically affects the feet, ankles and lower legs, but can also impact any area of the body, causing systemic symptoms.

Fluid retention in legs and feet is also known as peripheral edema. Some edemas are caused by different things that we do, such as sitting or standing for extended periods of time; while others are due to chronic medical conditions that affect the heart, kidneys or liver. This swelling is not usually painful unless the amount of fluid that has built up is excessive. Knowledge of how to reduce swelling can make a difference. However, it can be quite uncomfortable and can make wearing socks or shoes quite difficult. While some fluid retention in legs is normal with age, it is important that you seek medical attention if your swelling is accompanied by other unnatural symptoms and does not subside after a day or two.

Here are some of the common causes of edema:

  • Sodium retention
  • Drug abuse
  • Frequent use of laxatives
  • Frequent use of diuretics
  • Pregnancy
  • PMS
  • Consuming foods with high salt and carbohydrates
  • Taking birth control pills
  • History of phlebitis

Here are some symptoms that will develop over an extended period of time:

  • Frequent headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent urination
  • Heart racing
  • Swollen hands and wrists
  • Increased weight gain
  • Puffiness around the eye areas

How to reduce swelling?

Before taking a trip to the doctor’s office, here are some thing you can try at home to reduce fluid retention in leg and arms apart from other parts of body:

  • Drink lots of water, at least eight 8 ounce glasses per day is recommended. Water will help flush excess sodium from your body which will reduce fluid retention in legs and feet.
  • Elevate your feet – this will allow fluid to flow away from the feet and legs to reduce swelling. You can also try lying down and elevating your legs above the heart to reduce swelling.
  • Cut down on your sodium intake, as too much sodium causes the body to retain water, thus causing fluid retention in legs and arms to occur.
  • Wear support hose, to stimulate circulation. How to reduce swelling if your clothing restricts your movement? This type of hosiery helps to encourage circulation and compress the swelling, minimizing its uncomfortable effects.
  • Get up and move, to promote circulation and fluid movement in the legs. Moderate exercise can also be an answer to how to reduce swelling. If you have to sit for long periods of time you are at a high risk for fluid retention in the extremities. So get up and move around whenever possible.


It can be difficult to differentiate between normal swelling and that which requires medical attention. Legs and feet will start to swell early in the day and will get worse throughout the rest of the day. Edema that does not go away after a few days will cause what is known as pitting; which happens when the swollen area is pressed and an imprint is left in the skin.

If you have tried one or more of these how to reduce swelling techniques and the swelling persists, it may be time to give your doctor a call.

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