Help, Diana, my ankles seem to be permanently swollen. Even in the morning they are a little swollen but as the day wears on they definitely puff up more. Do you have any tips for reducing them? Tina Shaw, Manchester
Answer Dear Tina, how distressing for you. Technically, your problem is a build-up of fluid and puffiness of the skin and is called an Oedema. It is most common in the feet and ankles where the fluid accumulates under the skin and this causes your swelling. Common causes of oedema are immobility or standing for long periods So I’m not sure what accounts for yours? But don’t worry unduly, it’s normal to have some swelling in your legs at the end of the day, particularly if you’ve been sitting or standing for a long time. And an oedema is often temporary and can clear up by itself. But I would suggest, that you make time to lie down and put your feet up. Ideally place your legs up on pillows to raise them above your heart, and rest.
Taking exercise, even brisk walking helps pump fluid from your legs back to your heart and watching what you eat and following a low-salt diet may reduce fluid build up and swollen ankles. But, Tina, if your feet and ankles stay swollen see your GP. It may be an indication of a more serious underlying health condition which needs to be treated.