What should I do to stop my feet from swelling? - Daily Nation

What should I do to stop my feet from swelling?

What should I do to stop my feet from swelling?

My feet swell every time I go on a long trip and of late, even when I sit for long in the office.

Hi Doc,

My feet swell every time I go on a long trip and of late, even when I sit for long in the office. Usually, the swelling reduces or even goes away completely when I stand up. However, the swelling comes back when I sit down. What could be wrong with me?

Lucy, Nairobi


Dear Lucy,

The swelling of the legs is happening due to build-up of fluid in the feet because of poor circulation. When blood is coming from the heart, it is pumped out by the heart muscles and flows through to the smallest blood vessels (capillaries), where the exchange of oxygen and nutrients happens. From there, it has to start the long journey back to the heart.

If this flow is from the feet back to the heart, it has two things against it: the flow is against gravity and there is no heart to pump the blood. The body relies on the contraction of the leg muscles to act as a pump, to push the blood back to the heart. So, if you are not moving about so that the leg muscles can contract, you can end up having a build-up of fluid in the feet.

To improve this, don’t sit for longer than 45 minutes without standing and moving around.

You can also exercise your legs when you are on a long journey. While resting or sleeping, raise your legs a little higher than the body using a pillow. There are also compression stockings that can help reduce and prevent the swelling.


Dear Doctor,

For the last five years, my ears get blocked every six months or so, and when I go to hospital, I am told I have a lot of wax, which is blocking my ears. I am given ear drops and then my ears are cleaned. Why does it keep happening?


Dear Ken,

The ears produce wax every day that helps to protect the ear by trapping and preventing dust, germs and foreign objects from entering and damaging the ear. Usually, the ear “cleans” itself because the wax moves to the entrance of the ear where it either falls out or is removed during regular cleaning of the body.

In some people, for unknown reasons, the ears make too much wax. This wax can build up and harden, blocking the ear canal. This can lead to blockage, hearing loss, noises in the ear and pain.

The wax is easily removed by using ear drops that soften the wax , after which the doctor removes it through  syringing with water, using suctioning or curettage. The build-up of wax may recur because the ear canal is constantly producing wax.


Dear Flo

A few years ago, I decided to stop eating meat for personal reasons. Nowadays, I have been having headaches and feeling dizzy. I went to the hospital and I was told my blood level is low. The doctor told me to start eating meat to help build up my blood. I was also given some supplements. Is there any way I can improve my health without eating meat and without taking medicine?



Dear Evelyn,

Every food group is important for a healthy body. Iron is the nutrient most responsible for building up your blood. If you are not getting enough iron, then the blood level (haemoglobin) goes down. Since haemoglobin carries oxygen to body tissues, when it goes down, the body starts suffering from reduced oxygen, which leads to headaches, dizziness, fainting and even heart and kidney failure.

If you have a deficiency of iron, then in addition to food, you need to take the iron supplements otherwise known as blood builders so that you can build up your haemoglobin quickly and your tissues can stop having oxygen starvation.

Your body absorbs more iron from meat than from other foods. Since you have chosen to not eat meat, then you have to get those nutrients from other iron-rich foods like beans, peas, soya, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit like raisins and fortified cereals like fortified maize meal.


Send your questions to [email protected] for absolutely free expert advice.