Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Puzzling Swollen Legs Look like Scarlet Booties

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Puzzling Swollen Legs Look like Scarlet Booties

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: My feet are swollen and so red up to a few inches above my ankles that I appear to be wearing scarlet booties.

The top parts of my lower legs just below my knees are normal in the morning but swell twice that size during the day.

I am 71 and in good health otherwise. My present doctor has me taking aspirin, Lasix and Monopril, but they don't seem to help much. Do you have any suggestions? The possible causes of ankle swelling include a multitude of problems. Poor circulation, heart failure, liver disease, kidney failure and varicose veins are possible culprits. Medicines can be implicated. The common anti-inflammation drugs such as indomethacin and ibuprofen can lead to swollen ankles. So, too, can your high blood pressure medicine, Monopril. Standing or sitting for long periods causes fluid leakage out of blood vessels, and that fluid gravitates to the ankles. Your skin redness is bothersome. Is the skin also warm and painful? A yes answer points in the direction of an infection. A no answer indicates skin and tissue irritation resulting from the retained fluid. Here's an outline of steps to get rid of that fluid: Elevate your feet whenever you sit or lie down, the higher the better. When standing, squeeze your leg muscles. That pumps fluid back into circulation. Go easy with the salt shaker and salty foods. Take your water pill, Lasix, around 6 p.m. Then lie or sit with legs elevated, to enhance the action of the water pill in getting rid of excess fluid. Buy a pair of elastic stockings and put them on as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. The pressure from the stockings will stop fluid oozing out of blood vessels. If the swelling is not disappearing, then get back with your doctor. Ask the doctor if your blood pressure pill, Monopril, could be the cause, and ask about the possibility of infection. …

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