How to Ice Swollen Legs and Feet

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Legs and feet can become swollen due to a number of factors, including standing for long periods of time, pregnancy and injury. Swollen legs, ankles and feet can be extremely uncomfortable, as the tissue stretches to accommodate the inflammation. If you suffer from swollen legs or feet, it is important to ice the affected area immediately to avoid damage and reduce painful symptoms.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack
  • Paper towel
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine

Remove pressure from afflicted area. Immediately after noticing swelling, stop any activity and sit down. Continuing to participate in strenuous activity or place undue pressure on the area will only increase inflammation.

Raise your foot. This prohibits blood from collecting in the swollen tissue, and helps to reduce inflammation. Sit on a couch or chair and prop your leg and foot up using a pillow to cushion the inflamed tissue.

Use an ice-pack. Wrap an ice-pack in paper towel and hold on afflicted area for three minutes at a time. Be sure ice-pack is wrapped so as not to damage nerves in the foot or leg. Remove ice pack after three minutes. Wait three minutes and then repeat until inflammation minimizes.

Take a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine. Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Advil all work to reduce inflammation and minimize painful side effects. Continue taking medicine, following the directions on the label, until pain and inflammation subsides. Contact your physician if swelling does not decrease within 12 hours.

Identify the cause of your swollen legs and knees. Inflammation in the legs is often caused by water retention or by poor blood circulation; blood collects and pressurizes in the lower part of the body, causing the blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues of the legs, feet and ankles. Inflammation can occur during pregnancy, after injury or due to more severe conditions, so it's important to speak with a doctor if you are unsure of what caused the swelling.

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