A Leg Up on Edema

A couple of years ago a shoe salesman told me that my feet were getting noticeably wider and should seek medical help as the ankles looked abnormally swollen. I went to the doctor and he said I had edema. I said “what!?”.

I don’t have nice-looking legs. That doesn’t bother me being a member of the male persuasion. I also have flat feet which have taken a lot of pounding from years of sports related activities. For the past twenty-five years, I’ve found that the only shoes that give comfort to my feet are Rockports because of their decent arch support. They come in a variety of styles such as black dress style wingtips as well brown walking shoes and white sneakers.

So, the doctor explained that I had an abnormal buildup of fluid in my ankles. I said that I knew that- I could see my ankles. Not only my ankles, but my legs were getting bigger each day. After a night’s sleep, I’d wake up and look at one mighty fine pair of narrow ankles and slim legs- just like an athlete’s. Then the day would take its toll and by nighttime again my legs and ankles were swollen. In a different way, I was experiencing my own version of the Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day”.

I asked if there was any cure for edema. He said, “not really. all you can do is try to keep the swelling down as best as possible.” Okay, how do you do that? He said that I should buy compression socks as well as take water pills. Naturally, I asked if water pills meant that I was to take something that was a substitute for a lack of water. He explained that it was just the opposite. It meant that it would cause me to get rid of all the excess water flowing through my body without dehydrating me.

Hmm… That sounded like I would be going to the washroom frequently, right? He nodded his head but indicated that it was only for the duration of the effectiveness of the pill. “In English, please?” I asked. He replied, “oh about four hours but then after that you would go back to a normal day’s routine.” I tried it a few times and it was a pain in the- actually, the other one- but was not something I could do on a daily basis especially when I had to go see a client. So, it became a back burner solution and I decided to take the pills only once in a while if I was feeling bloated.

As for the compression socks, he sent me to a specialist who examined my legs and said that I was his youngest patient. He usually didn’t see this condition in people my age, especially men. Thanks alot. He told me that I should buy 30 to 40 compression pressure socks. They looked like regular knee high dress socks but you had to practically peel them on and off. Literally. It could take a while as they were quite tight.

Wearing the socks is supposed to squeeze the fluid away from draining down to the ankles. When you take them off at night your legs have a funny shape but they are not as fat.

I asked the doctor what causes edema. He said that you can get it due to several reasons: bad circulation, injury to the foot, overweight, natural aging, and maybe bad posture due to flat feet and abnormal stress on the ankle.

Some people get swollen feet if they have diabetes, heart problems or other organ failure. He told me that in my case I just happened to get a deterioration of the veins running through my system.
He also said that it was a good idea to lay down with my legs raised a bit from the mattress by placing them on a pillow. Oh great- now I had pillows on both ends of the bed. This would help push the fluids back to where they ought to be. I had this feeling that body fluids would be gurgling out of my mouth while I slept.

So, I am at that glorious stage in life where it all appears to be in vein. (sorry) A good place to check for more information on edema is the U.S. National Library of Medicine and their Medline Plus website at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003104.htm

Disclaimer: The above is not an endorsement by this website for any medical solution. The author is not a medical professional. Always consult with a doctor for medical advice.

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