Legs, ankles, and feet swell when excess fluid is pulled down by gravity and builds up in the lower body. This is called edema and it’s common in older adults and usually happens on both sides of the body. It can be caused by a variety of health conditions including heart failure, kidney disease, gout, and arthritis.
Swollen body parts may be uncomfortable but with older adults, it can be a sign of edema. This serious condition can occur in any part of your body but usually results in fluid leaking from legs in elderly individuals.
Home Care Put your legs on pillows to raise them above your heart while lying down. Exercise your legs . Follow a low-salt diet, which may reduce fluid buildup and swelling . Wear support stockings (sold at most drugstores and medical supply stores). When traveling, take breaks often to stand up and move around.
Swelling of the foot , ankle and leg can be severe enough to leave an indentation (pit) when you press on the area. This swelling ( edema ) is the result of excess fluid in your tissues — often caused by congestive heart failure or blockage in a leg vein.
If you experience any of the following symptoms along with swollen legs , call 911 or seek immediate help: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Coughing blood. Chest pain.
Leg swelling isn’t always a sign of a heart or circulation problem. You can have swelling due to fluid buildup simply from being overweight, being inactive, sitting or standing for a long time, or wearing tight stockings or jeans. Factors related to fluid buildup include: Acute kidney failure.
1. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Though it might seem counterintuitive, getting enough fluids actually helps reduce swelling . When your body isn’t hydrated enough, it holds onto the fluid it does have.
Extra water in fruits can reduce foot swelling by flushing out extra water. Other vegetables , like cucumber and asparagus, are natural directs that eliminate water in your body. Drinking lots of water will also help your foot and ankle mobility with less swelling .
Swelling ( edema ) in your lower legs is another sign of a heart problem . When your heart doesn’t work as well, blood flow slows and backs up in the veins in your legs . This causes fluid to build up in your tissues. You may also have swelling in your stomach or notice some weight gain.
Seek medical care right away if your legs swell for no apparent reason, especially if you have unexplained leg pain, difficulty breathing, chest pain or other warning signs of a blood clot in your lungs or a heart condition. Many factors — varying greatly in severity — can cause leg swelling .
What medications can cause swollen ankles and feet? Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Calcium channel blockers , a type of blood pressure medication. Steroids, including corticosteroids such as prednisone. Antidepressants. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Diabetes medications.
Edema left untreated can cause skin stretching to a point of pruritus and discomfort accompanied by painful swelling, stiffness, and difficulty walking. Swollen areas are at increased risk of skin ulcers and infection.
Applying an ice-pack or cold compress to an injury is the fastest way to deal with immediate swelling . It helps reduce swelling by restricting blood flow to the area and slowing down cellular metabolism. Cold therapy systems and ice baths are other methods you can use to apply cold to the area.
What medications can cause edema? Many medicines can cause edema, including: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen) Calcium channel blockers . Corticosteroids (like prednisone and methylprednisolone) Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone. Pramipexole.
Some edema can be expected, such as swollen ankles when you’re pregnant or a traumatic ankle sprain; but edema can be caused by life – threatening conditions, such as heart disease or kidney failure.
The body becomes unable to eliminate fluid properly when certain medical conditions are present. Standing for long periods of time causes fluids to pool in the legs , thus increasing water retention . Hot weather can also lead to fluid retention because the body is less efficient at removing fluid from the body.
Lifestyle and home remedies Movement. Moving and using the muscles in the part of your body affected by edema , especially your legs , may help pump the excess fluid back toward your heart. Elevation. Massage. Compression. Protection. Reduce salt intake.