Fluid retention, Oedema, Swollen Legs and Ankles
Oedema can occur anywhere in the body, but it’s most common in the feet and ankles. This is known as peripheral oedema.
It can be normal to have some swelling in your legs at the end of the day, particularly if you’ve been sitting or standing for long periods. Immobility and standing for long periods are the two most common causes of oedema in the legs.
Oedema is often a symptom of an underlying health condition. It can occur as a result of the following conditions or treatments:
- kidney disease
- heart failure
- chronic lung disease
- liver disease
- thyroid disease
- medication, such as corticosteroids or medication for high blood pressure (hypertension)
- the contraceptive pill
Other possible causes include:
- a blood clot
- varicose veins
- a leg injury or leg surgery
- burns to the skin
Oedema usually clears up by itself. However, your GP may suggest some self-help measures to reduce fluid retention, such as:
- weight loss (if you’re overweight)
- regular exercise, e.g. walking, swimming, cycling
- raising your legs three to four times a day to improve your circulation
- avoiding standing for long periods of time
If an underlying condition is causing the fluid imbalance, it should clear up after the condition has been diagnosed and treated.
Lymphoedema is swelling in the legs caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, or an inherited condition, such as Milroy’s disease, that causes an abnormality of the lymph vessels.
The lymphatic system consists of a series of lymph nodes (glands) connected by a network of vessels, similar to blood vessels.
Fluid surrounding body tissues usually drains into nearby lymph vessels so it can be transported back into the blood. However, if the lymph vessels are blocked, the fluid can’t be reabsorbed and will build up in the tissue. Unlike oedema, lymphoedema is a long-term condition that can cause discomfort, pain and a loss of mobility.
It can’t be cured, but it can be controlled using a number of treatments, including compression stockings, skin care, elevation, lymphatic massage and reflexology massage. The nodules on the Revs Reflexology shoes stimulate the kidney and adrenals, helping to drain and unblock the lymphatic system, whilst also increasing circulation to help with blood flow. In a scientific study conducted by Kyoto University, Reflexology shoes were clinically proven to reduce swelling in the lower legs and feet.