Edema occurs due to build-up of fluid in the body’s tissues, often in the lower leg and ankle.


The most common symptoms associated with edema vary according to the type of edema and its location. In general, the skin above the swollen area will be stretched and shiny.


Common causes of edema include:

  • Prolonged standing or sitting, especially in hot weather.
  • Tiny valves inside the veins of the legs that become weakened, causing venous insufficiency which makes it more difficult for the veins to pump blood back to the heart, and leads to the build-up of fluid.
  • Severe chronic (long-term) lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis increase pressure in the blood vessels that lead from the heart to the lungs. This pressure backs up in the heart. The higher pressure causes swelling in the legs and feet.
  • Congestive heart failure which may cause fluid build-up in the lungs and other parts of the body. Swelling is often most visible in the feet and ankles.
  • Pregnancy which often results in fluid retention.
  • Elevate Feet And Legs. When resting, elevate your feet above your heart. When sitting, rest your feet on a stool. Avoid crossing your legs.
  • Exercise Daily (Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program). Start a daily regimen of walking, swimming or other aerobic exercises. When sitting or standing, exercise your legs. Wiggle your toes, fl ex your feet or tighten your calf muscles to improve blood flow.
  • Use Flight Hose. Travellers who pull on a pair of compression hose before boarding long
    flights can cut their risk of blood clots.
  • Use Gradient Compression Therapy Daily. Gradient compression applies a measured amount of compression to your leg as the basis for management of venous conditions. Gradient compression stockings apply the highest amount of pressure at the ankle and gradually decreases up the length of the stocking. This helps the blood in your veins to flow in the right direction (back toward your heart) even if your veins and valves are damaged. Medical gradient compression stockings come in four different compression levels as well as different stockings lengths depending on the location of the damage to your veins . Your Pedorthist can fit you with the compression level recommended by your doctor. In addition, there is a style designed specifically for pregnant women.