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Exercises to reduce leg swelling

Updated March 23, 2017

Swelling can occur when excessive fluid builds up in the legs. If you remove your socks and notice an indentation from the elastic, your feet and ankles have swollen since you put on the socks. This is relatively normal and happens to everyone at some point. For some people, swelling can be an excessive and dangerous problem.

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Prevent swelling

Prevention is always better than trying to reverse a problem later. Understanding what causes swelling can help you to better prevent it from occurring in the first place. Drinking too many negative fluids can cause swelling. Water is a positive fluid to drink and will help relieve the body of excess water, but sugary soft drinks and juice may cause excessive swelling. Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time may also cause swelling, so if you work where you have to sit in the same position for four or more hours at a time, get up every one to two hours for at least 10 to 15 minutes each time and move around.

Raised leg exercise

This old-fashioned leg-lifting exercise may seem like it won’t do very much, but it can help reduce oedema (swelling). Raised leg exercises are the best prescription for elderly people who are experiencing oedema.

Other leg exercises

Swelling doesn’t always occur for everyone, but some people experience swelling during pregnancy, illness or menopause. They also may experience swelling when they are older. Try sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend one of your legs, putting the ankle from the bent leg above the opposite knee. Pull this thigh to the opposite side and hold for 30 seconds or longer, if you can do it. Breathe deeply and alternate sides. This exercise can help with water retention. Just walking in general will help, too. Take a 10 or 15 minute walk at least once a day and up to three times a day, to get your blood circulating and help with swelling and inflammation. Drink plenty of fluids -- especially water and tea -- and avoid eating salty foods. Always consult your GP if you experience swollen legs as the condition can sometimes indicate serious health problems, including blood clots.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Beth Lytle has been writing professionally since 2008. Working as an editor and with recent work published on eHow, LiveStrong and the Bayer Aspirin website, Lytle is a self-made freelancer. Lytle writes health-related and home-improvement articles, first beginning her writing journey while attending writing workshops and classes during childhood. Lytle has owned transcription and commercial construction companies since 2006.

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