Edema is the potentially dangerous condition whereas your feet, ankles, and legs can become very swollen. This is often caused by medical conditions, such as a sports injury, or due to daily habits, like eating a diet high in sodium. The swelling in your legs can actually cause other swelling issues, such as around your lungs or heart, so play it safe and prevent edema.
Here are some ways to prevent swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet:
Look at what you are eating. Sodium retains water, and this could lead to edema, particularly in the extremities. Start reading labels and cut back on high-sodium, over-processed foods that can make you retain water and cause swelling. Make sure your diet is rich in fiber, which can also help rid the body of excess fluids and toxins.
Fight infections. If you have a wound, injury, or illness, don't let infections go untreated. This will cause a spike in the infection-fighting white blood cells in that region of the body, which can result in swelling or edema. Treat infections with medication prescribed by your doctor.
Consider wearing compression socks. If you notice swelling in your feet or ankles, invest in a pair of compression socks to wear around the house. Putting pressure on the swollen area can help reduce the edema, and compression socks are easy to find widely.
Keep hydrated. If you suffer from edema, a medical provider may limit your fluid intake until you have been treated with diuretics and medication to rid the body of excess water. However, staying hydrated can actually reduce the chance of swelling in your extremities, particularly when you watch your salt intake.
Elevate your feet when resting. If you take a break to sit down, put your feet up. Elevating the feet can go a long way toward reducing edema around the ankles and calves. Pregnant women may notice swelling in their legs and feet, which can be alleviated by using a pillow to elevate legs when sitting or laying down.
Blood clots can block and back-up fluids in parts of the body, causing edema. Be sure to treat injuries, bruising, infections, and existing medical conditions to prevent the chance of swelling in your feet, legs, and other parts of the body. If you do notice swelling in your feet or ankles, use compression, a low-sodium diet, and elevation to reduce the edema; be sure to mention swelling to your physician or foot and ankle specialist as it can also be a sign of an allergic reaction or serious medical condition.