Very Localized Water Retention?...
March 27, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Does PMS exacerbate injury-related swelling, or am I a freak of nature?

So I've been coping with a broken-and-healing foot for the past 3 months. Fortunately I'm about 95% mended; the boot cast came off a month ago, I'm seeing a physical therapist and doing great.

I noticed something weird, though. At one point when I had the boot cast on, after some steady progress, there was one week when it suddenly got much more swollen than it had been. It wasn't painful, just...big. I iced it and kept an eye on it, and a few days later, just as suddenly, the swelling went down again. Then just last week, after I'd had the boot off and was trying to get around without it, it started to swell way up again; my physical therapist even remarked on it ("the rest of your symptoms are really minor, but that's a LOT of swellling...") I iced it every day again, and it kept swelling for a few days -- and then just as suddenly, it all went away. It's a lot better now.

However -- I've just realized that in both instances, those cases of hyper-swelling came a week before my period. Could that have been the cause? Is this something I should bring up with my orthopedist or the physical therapist?
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
water retention in the week before your period is common enough, but to cause this level of swelling is not so common.
Having said that you may be one of those people who retains water but doesn't notice. With pressure on your foot from the cast it became far more evident.
Obviously you're less active when you're healing and you don't say if you are on any meds, your age, etc., all of which will have an impact.
If you are normally youngish and healthy/active and are not aware of any other reason you are retaining water (are you on any new(er) meds for pain?) I would mention it to your orthopod but perhps a visit to your family doctor is in order just for a general check-up?
posted by Wilder at 8:18 AM on March 27, 2012

I'm sure you would have already thought of this, but do you by any chance crave salty foods the week before your period? I had an ankle wound that took forever to heal, and even now a few years after it's healed, that whole ankle will swell up if I eat too many olives or crackers. (As does the rest of me, I should add, but it's really noticeable since that minor surgery how the the area around the incision swells considerably more than it did before.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:42 AM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: I just came back from physical therapy; I asked the therapist if this was an explanation, and he just shrugged and said "could be."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on March 27, 2012

After I sprained my ankle, it had swelling like this for several months afterward. My doctor told me it could take up to a year for it to normalize since the soft tissues had been traumatized from all the initial swelling (I may have this garbled; it's been a couple of years). If I had been on my feet, or walking around more than usual, or eating salty stuff, or PMSing, it was that much worse.
posted by Addlepated at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: So, I mentioned this to my orthopedist as well. First she didn't understand and said "well, if you swell up all of a sudden that's not good, but...."

"Yeah, but it went away a few days later, and then a few days after that...."

"...Huh. Weird."

We left it as "if I swell up again keep an eye on it, and if it's about the same time as my PMS week and goes away a few days later, it's safe to say that it's just what my body does because it's weird and that's that."

I've already got a sizeable roster of physical quirks that are weird according to the normal laws of medical science, but seem to be normal for me, and aren't harmful, so they just make doctors go "....that's weird, how about that," and I'm used to it. So I'm just adding this to the pile, and marking it "resolved." Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:36 AM on March 30, 2012

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