For a couple of years now, especially when the weather gets warmer, my ankles, feet and hands get very swollen.

the author's feet in the morning - thin with bony ankles
Morning Feet
the author's feet in the evening - swollen with baseball-size ankles
Afternoon Feet

I thought once I lost weight, it would get better, but it didn’t.  I thought once I was back on heavy high blood pressure meds it would help, but it didn’t.  So about two weeks ago, I made a doctor’s appointment.

The doctor said I have venous insufficiency, which means that the valves in my leg veins are not working correctly.  The blood pumps to my extremities just fine, but it has a hard time pumping back.  She prescribed me compression stockings and suggested I try a low sodium diet.

Art took me to a local drugstore to get fitted for the compression stockings.   They are like really thick nylon knee highs.  I am supposed to wear them all day long, unless I am going to wear shorts or a skirt.  Really, I think even then, if I’m not going anywhere.  Art says they make me look like I have Muppet feet:

the author's legs in compression stockingsOnce I got home, I googled low sodium diets and found that by far the most popular is the DASH eating plan.   DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and is recommended by the American Heart Association.  I found a great book, The DASH Diet Health Plan, and made a shopping list for the week.

Now, almost two weeks later, I am already down five pounds. In addition, some internal pain that I had been experiencing almost constantly is completely gone.  I still swell in the heat, but I am hoping that will diminish as I continue on the lower sodium diet.

Anyway, you may have wondered why you haven’t seen any recipes from me for a little while.  I am working on some yummy lower sodium alternatives to share with you over the weeks and months to come.  And be sure to check in on Wednesday for a delicious new dessert recipe!!

Do you have any dietary restrictions? Any recommendations that can help me with my lower sodium eating plan?

14 thoughts on “Swollen Ankles (and I’m NOT Pregnant!!)

    1. I think swelling when you’re pregnant is normal. I know some women who had to wear flipflops through their pregnancy because their feet swelled so bad. But it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been pregnant, LOL.

  1. My cousin is also dealing with this – keep it up with the compression stockings. Also he has found a few different types of massage that work to help reduce the edema.

  2. Do you miss table salt? My grandparents have high blood pressure and they love something called Salt Sense. I think it is made with potassium instead (not sure if that would help or hurt your condition).

    1. I DO miss table salt, but unfortunately I can’t have the traditional salt substitutes because they mess with my potassium levels. I have been experimenting with different herbs, and that helps. Also lots of onion and garlic!!

  3. I didn’t know you were a blogger, Teressa! I’m so excited to have another one in group 7 :)! There are only a few of us. My ankles swell all the time. It drives me crazy. People used to call me No Ankles in high school because they were so round you couldn’t see my ankle bones. That was even before I gained all the extra weight I have today. I’ll have to check out the dash diet. I definitely consume way too much salt!

  4. I use more herbs and seasonings in my foods and use low sodium vegetable broth. I find that onion adds a lot of flavor and I do not need as much salt. Hope you are feeling better!

  5. When I was trying to conceive my son I went on a Low GI, Gluten Free and Dairy Free diet. I actually felt really healthy when I was on it, but I love food to much to continue and it didn’t help our pregnancy issues at all.

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