Too much walking gives me swollen legs - Confused - LSN


5,477 members2,539 posts

Too much walking gives me swollen legs - Confused

alfie19 profile image
8 Replies

I am confused.

Told walking helps with circulation problems agreed.

Walking does not help to reduce the swelling in the legs cos in my case it makes the swelling worse so I only do what I can until it becomes unbearable.

8 Replies
anami profile image

Hello there..

Walking does help with circulation - but after walking you should keep your legs elevated somehow. Keeping them down like 'normal' people will only let the lymph fill in your legs..

I'm hoping that you wear some sort of compression garments as they would allow you to sit with your feet down. Otherwise you need to get some, I would advise your GP to do something about sorting out a therapist for you..

If you do manage to get to a therapist - I would advise you get garments made by Scheibler. I wear Venn and Goldpunkt garments on my legs..


Keep well and good luck.

norberte profile image

hi alfie

i haven't got it in my legs, but i think there's a clue when you say you keep going 'till it gets unbearable'

by then, you've already asked your lymph system to do more than it can cope with so it's bound to react!

the secret is to stop before it gets unbearable, ideally just before the first niggle that tells you you've pushed it a bit

better to do that 2 or 3 times a day & rest after for a little bit, than have 1 long run at it & be laid up for longer

obviously i follow this advice aaaall the time to look after my arms ...... not!!

suzie_danger_girl profile image

Hi Anami

You sound like me 20 years ago. I was walking for 3 hours a day, desperately trying to get my 'weight' down. Let me save you the 20 years of pain I've taken to work out how to finally get this stuff off my legs.

4 years ago now i got my driving licence, and so now instead of walking everywhere I happily sit safe and warm in my car, with my legs all comfortable like they should be. No more hideously painful standing around waiting for buses or sweltering in the summer feeling their absolute dead weight. Lots of need to crawl in traffic means lots of pumping my legs up and down on the pedals which even helps too! So in honesty, in my case, walking does not 'work'. Its to much of a dead weight and impact damaging your joints, and you're just fighting a fight with gravity you feel like you will never win.

So here is what I've been doing in the past 3 years which has finally enabled me to find my ankles, and more recently *gasp* my knees! (Kneecaps are flat! I exclaimed with glee last night).

- Never NEVER walk without compression tights. Or stand for more then 5 mins without compression tights.

- Never walk without REALLY springing soles on your shoes. Preferably air trainers. You will blow out your knees, and in my case my left hip is now constant murder, I can't tell you.

- SWIM! Swimming is our friend. The pressure of the water, there's no impact. You weren't built for land, become part mermaid. If you can't swim, do aqua areobics. or just walk in the water. I have started synchronised swimming, and the lymph is FALLING off me. Note; you will have to get out of the pool to wee a lot!

- Pilates! You might think I've lost my tiny mind here, because the last thing you feel like you want to do is go waggle your legs in the air. But honestly mate. Go a bit early and tell the instructor what you've got going on, and they will help you adjust anything you can't do. But pilates is a gentle series of moves and shapes where you won't break a sweat, but you will learn to stand and sit and hold yourself better, and breathe well, and all this boosts your circulation, and better posture is your friend so that the pathways are clearer for the fluid to come off. I felt like a twit when I first went because I was the fat puffing bird who couldn't do anything. But I came out with my glands in my neck buzzing a little like they feel when they're working hard to clear you.

- Body Pump / light weights high repetition / no weights but repetitious careful movements - I do body pump but basically the key again is you're not busting a sweat here you want to do simple repetitive exercises which pump the muscles. This can be as simple as squats (go like you're gonna sit down but then don't, do back up again). The pumping of the muscles moved the lymph as you're hoping to, but without the impact. If you get the hang and can gradually add weights, I have found a massive advantage is building muscle has pushed the lymph against the hidden buff body, the advantage being there's now a 'hard' surface of muscle which can be pushed against for MLD. If you can't get MLD (who can!) I find body brushing. The Lymph society have quite a good leaflet I believe with the kind of repetitive muscle pumping motion you need.

Aerobic exercise - NO IMPACT!!!! Use something like a ski walker, trampoline, exercise bike. Protect your joints.

These rules plus ditching bread (IT HATES US!!) have genuinely in the last 3 years take 18cm off my hips, and a comparable amount overall - I got another cm off my knees this week. I personally also use a small hand held massager I can hold to get the correct gentle level of pressure - this is CONTRARY to the advice we are given because this needs to be done with a lot of care - you can wind up with worse problems which is why they say do not massage directly yourself. But personally I can't get MLD so if they're not going to help me I choose to take that risk and just am really gentle and only do a tiny bit each time. I do not advise others to do so that's my own personal potentially iffy decision, we have to all make our own choices. But DO do your SLD before any exercise and it will increase the benefits.

I am not saying don't walk, but I am saying I think there are many better ways I have found work for me, and that walking did not, so perhaps they will work for you. You sound like you are trying so hard and have a massive amount of commitment to get rid of this stuff, and so I believe if you can find the right thing that works for you you too can shift this stuff. Please note that I said 3 years. This has been really hard and I personally can only always see the lymph usually when I look in the mirror. But my bloke told me, no, it's working, it only has to be a tiny improvement each day instead of it getting a little worse each day and you're on the right track. And now finally the tape measure doesn't lie so I think that is good advice! You can get there :-)

Bigangel profile image
Bigangel in reply to suzie_danger_girl

It is really encouraging to have this long-term report. So many sources say little and often without putting the results in context. Enough to make me clear my bed ready to raise my legs on a pile of pillows and BRUSH away the lymph. I find it difficult to be gentle with my hands, so I am going to try a soft brush to get the circulation flowing.

Christo profile image

Wow Suzie!

What an amazing post you made to inspire us all!

Certainly you sound to have found the key to what works for you and give some good ideas we can all try. Being positive and not giving up is an important mental attitude. Sometimes we all get bad days and think why bother! Yet, if we don't keep fighting it we can't expect any improvements right? Really it is so refreshing to read your post and it makes me feel happy to hear your good news.

Continued successand thanks for sharing it with us!



Lruk profile image

Suzie, I have to echo everything Christo said, what a fantastically positive post, thank you for taking the time to share this. I am new to LE and still trying to find what works for me yet allows me to work. I totally agree about bread but there were other things you mentioned that I will be coming back to a trying as and when I have the time. Thank you again and I hope your success continues.

Loobs profile image

Great advice Suzie! Thanks for sharing.....I'm pumped up and ready to go :-D

Andy13 profile image

Great post Suzie!

I also think compression and exercise are key to managing this condition. swimming is excellent exercise for the whole body and aside from a small risk of drowning ;-) very unlikely to result in any adverse side effects or injuries. I might even sign up for Pilates after reading your post.

You may also like...