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10 Things That Cause Swollen Legs and How to Fix It

By Andrew Alpin, 7 August

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When you have swollen feet, also known as edema or water retention, then it is cause for concern. The good news is that research in the 21st century has discovered exactly why this happens and can help solve the problem. Here’s what science says about what makes legs swell and how to treat it.

Here are 10 reasons why legs swell and how to fix them.

1 Lymphedema

Lymphedema happens when too much fluid builds up in the tissues, making them swell. It happens when lymph nodes get damaged or have been removed. Lymph nodes are glands that are part of the immune system. They help get rid of excess fluid but damaged or missing lymph nodes in the pelvis allow fluid to build up in the legs. A person with lymphedema may feel like their legs, or other affected parts are heavy or swollen.

Bandaging the injured leg, wearing compression stockings, massaging the lymph nodes and doing gentle exercises to help the fluid drain are all effective ways to reduce swelling in the leg due to fluid retention. Good skincare also lowers the risk of infection and associated lymphedema.

Lymphedema

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2 No physical activity

Most problems with swelling are caused by minor circulation issues that happen when you don’t move around enough. This makes the lower extremities retain water and build up fluid. If you spend most of your day in an office chair or most of your free time sitting in front of the TV, your swollen legs could be your body’s way of telling you to get up and move around.

How can to solve this problem most effectively? It’s pretty simple – just get some more exercise! But you don’t have to work out hard at the gym or join a yoga or CrossFit class if you don’t want to. Just set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do some light walking. You’d be amazed at how much good a little bit of exercise can do for the body. But if you’re tired and can’t stand the thought of working out or walking around, try putting your feet and legs above your heart level while lying down to get rid of swelling.

No physical activity

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3 Side-effects of medications

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Some medicines can cause the ankles or legs to swell. These medications include Hormones like oestrogen, steroids, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and calcium channel blockers.

If a medicine causes side effects like swollen legs, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Your doctor might instruct you to decrease the dosage or prescribe a different medicine. However, you should always check with your doctor before stopping treatment.

Side-effects of medications

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