Finding Relief for Edema Swelling in the Legs & Ankles

Image of someone sitting on the beach with bare feet

Individuals suffering from edema often deal with swelling in the legs and ankles that can be very uncomfortable. The swelling results in achiness, tight and itchy skin, and limited mobility that can affect their ability to function on a daily basis. These side effects can be frustrating — but luckily, edema relief is possible.

Occasionally, physicians refer their patients suffering from edema to Newport Center Orthopedic for help finding solutions to alleviate some of their symptoms. Sometimes this includes shopping for a lift chair or medical bed that reclines in the Trendelenburg position, while other times edema relief is as easy as getting a massage or donning some compression socks.

How can you find relief from your edema? Here are a few tips for preventing swollen legs and living more comfortably.

What is Edema?

Before we can discuss relieving edema swelling legs, we should first explain what edema is and how it affects the body. Edema is a condition commonly found in, but not limited to, senior citizens. Excess fluids that usually accumulate in the legs, ankles, and feet, cause swelling that can be quite painful and really uncomfortable to live with!

There are many common causes of Edema. External causes range from prolonged lack of movement, hormone fluctuations, or a diet excessive in salt.

But there are plenty of diseases that can cause Edema as well. A few examples include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Varicose Veins
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lymphedema

But just as there are many conditions that cause edema, there are many options that can provide edema relief. The type of relief that will work best for someone depends on their physical capabilities and the severity of their condition, so it’s best to consult your doctor before trying any of the following edema treatments.


The swelling legs and ankles that come from edema often occur after spending a long day on your feet. And just as a foot massage feels great after a long day, massage can be an effective way to mitigate the discomfort individuals with edema feel.

Individuals can apply firm pressure to the swollen area in order to guide fluid out of their swollen leg and into the rest of the body. However, it is important to note that a massage should not be painful if you want to achieve edema relief. If a massage becomes painful, stop and seek out another method of solace, or reach out to your medical provider for help finding the best at-home technique for self care.

Diet and Exercise

It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when suffering from swollen legs and ankles. However, regular movement can be a great way to prevent the discomfort edema can bring. Even walking on a regular basis can strengthen the muscles in your calves and ankles, making them more effective at pushing fluid out of your limbs.

Another way to mitigate edema leg swelling is to adjust your diet. Cutting back on salt and increasing your water intake can help fluid retention, while other foods such as cranberry juice and dandelion tea can help you maintain proper fluid balance. Of course, you should consult your physician before committing these elements to your diet, but diet and exercise can be an effective tool to mitigate swelling and find edema relief.

Compression Garments

Compression garments are a popular tool for individuals with edema — as well as athletes, pregnant women, and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. These garments include socks, leg wraps, or even arm sleeves. They provide consistent and firm pressure to the limb, which helps prevent fluid buildup.

Putting on a compression garment in the morning can help prevent your legs from swelling as you move throughout the day. This provides edema relief, as it can prevent swelling from becoming too severe. It is possible to buy compression garments from your physician, but you can also purchase high quality medical garments online without a prescription.

The Trendelenburg Position

While there is some debate within the medical community about whether it has significant benefits, many doctors still recommend Trendlensberg’s position as a traditional remedy for the symptoms of Edema because it improves circulation to the lower extremities.

The Trendelenburg places the patient in a reclining position with the feet and ankles raised slightly above the heart, and the heart raised somewhat above the head.

Patients suffering from edema leg and ankle swelling report a lift chair or a medical bed that can recline into the Trendlendberg’s position provides much-needed relief from the aches and pains. Many patients report that not only does the Trendelenburg position support circulation in the feet, ankles, and legs, it can also be quite relaxing.

If you or a loved one has Edema or any of the many other conditions that cause swelling in the lower extremities due to poor circulation, consider trying one of these methods to achieve excellent, drug-free edema relief from discomfort and pain!