Fluid retention in the legs and ankles is the most common type of edema. This retention can be caused by a dietary imbalance, bad circulation, insufficient exercise, or a combination of all of these. This type of fluid retention can be difficult to get rid of, especially if you are on your feet a lot throughout the day and find it hard to find the time to slow down and put your feet up. Aside from ensuring you eat a healthy diet, here are a few other things you can do to help alleviate excess fluid retention in your legs and ankles.
Exercise regularly – Exercise is essential to the body’s normal functions. The lack of exercise will severely affect your circulation and your body’s ability to regulate fluids. When circulation is weak, fluids often pool in the ankles, legs and hands as well as other areas of the body.
Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods of time – Standing or sitting in one place for extensive amounts of time can also restrict circulation and cause excessive fluid retention. If you are required to stay in one place for several hours at a time, especially if you work in an office or as a cashier, try to take a break every hour or so to walk around a little and stretch out to get the blood flowing again. If you do not have the option of getting up, such as in trucking, try regularly flexing various muscle groups at regular intervals to help the circulation.
Wear controlled socks or hose – Find some socks or hose that are specifically designed to promote good circulation. These products are generally marketed to diabetics because of water retention issues related to diabetes and can be found in most discount or clothing stores.
Make sure your shoes fit right – If your shoes hurt your feet then get rid of them, no matter how much you like those shoes. Sore feet are a sure sign that your shoes are not correctly fitted to your feet and are likely causing circulation problems. Invest in shoes that fit well and wear them with some controlled socks and you will definitely feel the difference.
Elevate your feet – When you have excess fluid retention in your legs, sometimes it’s best just to let gravity do the work. Try to prop your feet up above the level of your heart at least once a day for 10-30 minutes. Ideally, take five minutes to lay flat on the floor and stretch your legs up against a wall and relax, allowing your legs to fall to either side a little and preventing overextension of the leg muscles. Additionally, you can buy leg wedges that will keep your feet and legs properly elevated while you sleep through the night.
Massage – Gently massaging your calves, ankles and feet on a nightly basis will help you sleep more comfortably and also further stimulate circulation that will aid in fluid regulation.
Drink plenty of water – Your body can’t properly regulate fluid if it doesn’t have enough coming in. Be sure to drink at least the recommended eight cups a day to ensure your body is properly hydrated.