Today I had a conversation with a patient of mine about swelling in her legs. She asked what exercise was good for ankle and leg swelling. Well, I just so happen to have a great exercise for that very situation. They are called calf raises or more precisely heel raises. When we think about the fluid that builds up in our legs and ankles during the day from simply standing up and going about our business, we see those fat ankles that barely seem to fit into those shoes or have a ring around them from the pressure of the sock.
Fortunately we have a way to get rid of that fluid. Generally speaking, we only have two ways to get move that fluid out of our legs. The lymphatic system and our venous system. The lymphatic system is enhanced by muscle movement. The venous system has a series of one way valves that keep the used blood moving in one direction. To take advantage of this system we can perform calf raises. As the name implies, we are rising up on our toes by way of calf muscle contraction.
I always tell patients our calf muscles are the “heart of our legs”. When the calf muscles contract, they help push the blood and lymph out of the legs. This tends to work because your calf is actually made up of two muscles. As the blood runs in between these muscles, our calf muscle contraction sends this blood out of the legs. Cool, ehh?
Follow along with the video of my class and start getting rid of that ankle swelling!