Uncomfortable swelling of the feet and legs can occur for many reasons, including standing or sitting for long periods of time, menstrual periods in women, being overweight, being of advanced age, or being pregnant. While the swelling is uncomfortable, it isn't usually painful. Luckily, there are a few measures that can be taken to reduce swelling in your legs and feet so you can go about your day comfortably.
Elevate your legs above your heart when possible.
Legs and feet become swollen more easily than other areas of your body because excess fluid tends to collect in lower extremities due to the effects of gravity. When you are resting or sleeping, try to elevate your legs above heart level by propping them up with pillows or extra blankets. This allows for the excess fluid to travel to your abdomen, where it can be collected and excreted by the kidneys as urine.
Exercise your legs frequently throughout the day.
If you stand in one place or sit for extended periods, make a point to get up and walk around every couple of hours to increase blood flow to the legs and feet. Increasing blood flow through exercise can help your swollen feet and legs to pump out the extra fluid to the rest of the body so that your kidneys can get rid of it. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Purchase support hose to wear throughout the day.
Support stockings, or hose, are available at most pharmacies and discount stores. These special socks compress your feet, ankles and calves so that extra fluid is pushed back up into the body and can't collect in the feet and legs.
Reduce the amount of sodium you consume.
Excess dietary sodium can cause you to retain water. Reduce the amount of sodium you eat to 1200 to1350 mg per day. Closely monitor nutrition labels to keep track of the amount of sodium you consume.
Use an over-the-counter diuretic.
Brands like Diurex contain gentle medicine that helps your kidneys to expel extra fluid that has accumulated in your body. Follow the dosing recommendations on the back of the box carefully.
If you are pregnant or lactating, contact your doctor before taking any medication, including over-the-counter diuretics for your swollen legs and feet.