How to Deal with Lower Body Swelling

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After a dance-packed day, it's not uncommon for your lower body to be swollen. This phenomenon isn't anything to worry about, but it can be uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a number of easy fixes—and ways to prevent swelling altogether. Dance Spirit turned to Jessica Lassiter, DPT, OCS, ATC, CMPT, a physical therapist and certified athletic trainer in NYC, for a crash course on how to stop the swell.


What It Is

"Swelling happens when your tissues retain water," explains Lassiter. "The lower body is especially prone to swelling because of gravity."

What Causes It

"Swelling occurs when your body's vascular system leaks water into your joints' surrounding tissues," Lassiter says. "This is a normal process that can go into overdrive for a number of reasons: ingesting a lot of salt, dancing in a hot, humid environment, or wearing especially tight clothing."

How to Deal

​Use Gravity

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"Elevating your lower limbs above your heart will help fluid reabsorb into the bloodstream more easily. Try lying on your back with your legs extended straight up against a wall."

Minimal swelling is completely normal. "But if you're able to press into the swollen area and it maintains indentation for more than a second or two, it'd be best to consult your doctor," Lassiter advises.


A version of this story appeared in the November 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Your Aches And Pains Addressed: Lower Body Swelling."

Health & Body
Photo by Erin Baiano

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