How to Reduce Leg Swelling After Exercise

Swelling in the lower extremities is fairly common, but it can be a drag when you are trying to get healthy with exercise. Talk to your doctor to explore potential causes and treatments. Many things can trigger leg swelling -- from a simple minor injury to a serious heart or vasculature problem. Once you get clearance from your doctor, there are simple steps you can take to help reduce leg swelling after exercise.


Step 1

Apply a cold or ice compress to the area for 20 minutes if the swelling is localized. Injury to ligaments or tendons can stimulate swelling.

Step 2

Elevate your feet on pillows. Getting your feet above heart level passively drains excess fluid from your limbs with gravity.

Step 3

Limit your daily salt intake. Excess sodium in your diet may contribute to the leg swelling. Aim for less than 1,500 mg per day, according to the American Heart Association's guidelines.

Step 4

Remove any tight or restrictive clothing, such as bicycle shorts. Restrictive clothing can work like an elastic band on the skin, preventing fluids from returning to the heart during exercise.

Step 5

Apply support stockings on both feet and legs if you own them. They are available at most retail pharmacy stores. Support stockings apply gentle compression to your lower extremities to help reduce swelling.


Items you will need

  • Ice compress
  • Pillows
  • Support stockings


  • Try mixing up your exercise routine. Exercises that have you seated or standing for an extended period of time may contribute to your swelling.
  • Make sure you get any wrinkles or creases out of the support stockings once they are on.


  • Don't allow your condition to worsen if home remedies aren't curtailing swelling -- talk to your doctor if the swelling is getting worse or accompanied by pain or shortness of breath.

Photo Credits:

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or