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Sitting for long hours can cause swelling of the legs: These exercises may give you relief

Swelling of the legs occurs when extra fluid gets trapped in your body’s tissues.

Elevating your feet higher than your heart or taking breaks for a brief walk periodically throughout the day are two of the best ways to treat swollen feet. But you can also perform some easy exercises while sitting to reduce the swelling.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : April 15, 2020 8:34 AM IST

Most of you might be working from home during this quarantine. This also means that you are probably sitting for longer hours than usual. Among many other health issues that can result from sitting for too long, one common condition many people face is swollen feet. Have you ever noticed swelling of your lower legs or ankles after sitting for a long time?

This condition is called dependent edema. It occurs when extra fluid gets trapped in your body's tissues. When you sit for a long time with your legs hanging down, gravity pulls the fluid down into your legs and feet. This is why you get swollen feet after sitting for a long time.

Dependent edema may also happen to people with limited mobility, such as those who have suffered paralysis or stroke. If it is dependent edema, pressing on the affected area can leave a pit or dent. Else it may be a different type of edema, the medical term for swelling. There are several other types of edema, which can result from injury, hormonal changes, pregnancy, excessive salt intake and a variety of medical problems, such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, and kidney disease.

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Treatment for Swollen Feet

The treatment for swollen feet depends on the cause. If the swelling is caused by lifestyle or temporary conditions, like sitting of long hours, there are several remedies to provide relief. Elevating the legs above the heart at the end of the day may help bring the swelling down. Sleeping with a pillow under your legs at night may also help. If you have to sit and work for hours, take breaks to move around. Doctors also advise people to reduce intake of salt. There are also specific exercises that you can do while sitting to reduce the swelling. You should try these exercises

Leg Extensions

Keep your feet flat on the floor. Then extend your right leg as straight as you can and lift it slightly. Hold for a few seconds and bring back to the starting position. Now, switch sides, and do the same on the left leg. Repeat this for 20 to 30 repetitions.

Knee Lifts

This exercise improves flexion in your hips and knees to promote circulation. How to do it- Lift one foot, bringing the knee toward the chest. Slowly, lower the leg back down, and do the same with the other leg. Repeat for 20 to 30 repetitions.

Ankle Circles

Gravity causes fluids to pool around the calves, ankles and feet. This exercise can help get some of that fluid moving. Ankle circles or rotating your ankles is an easy exercise that you can even do during long meetings or seminars.

How to do it: Lift one foot off the ground slightly and roll the ankle clockwise. Complete 10 full circles in one direction, then switch direction. Do the exercise with the other foot. Repeat these steps five to 10 times on each side.

Foot Pumps

After ankle circles, do this exercise to further promote the release of collecting fluids in the lower leg. Lift the toes, keeping the heels of both feet down. Then raise the feet upward as high as you can. You will feel a stretch in the calf muscles on the backs of your lower legs. Return to your starting position with both feet flat on the floor. Now, keep the toes on the floor, and lift the heels off the floor as high as you can. Repeat these steps for a few times.

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