Compression socks: Where did the fluid go?
September 30, 2013 6:32 AM   Subscribe

On the advice of my podiatrist, I have just started wearing compression sock. And, they work! But, where did the fluid go?

I have had some swelling in my feet for the last couple of months. (More one side then the other.) After ruling out the big issues (no congestive heart failure, no kidney failure, no blood clots), my podiatrist recommended compression socks. He wanted me to start with over the counter level compression. I have been wearing them for 4 days and got almost immediate results. When I take the socks off at the end of the day, my feet and ankles look normal for the first time in months. However, I am wondering, where did the fluid go? Obviously there was extra fluid that was causing the swelling. And, I did find out last night that if I remove the compression socks and then walk or sit for a couple of hours, the swelling will return. (But, if I take them off just before I go to bed, they do no swell up before morning if I am lying down all night.) So, where does the fluid go when I have the compression socks on?
posted by hworth to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You peed it out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:33 AM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

It doesn't take a lot of actual volume of fluid to make your feet and ankles seem massively hugely swollen. By discouraging it from collecting in your feet (either through compression or lying down) the fluid can stay spread out in the rest of your body, and it's not a large enough quantity for you to feel it. And yes, it's easier to pee it out when blood is getting circulated better.
posted by aimedwander at 6:39 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

IANAD, but I believe the major role in actually carrying the excess fluid away (if that's what you're thinking of) is played by the lymphatic system. You may know that besides the veins and arteries that carry your blood you have a system of vessels that carry clear lymphatic fluid around. One of its main roles is gathering up excess fluid and delivering back into the circulation and on to wherever it's needed.
posted by Segundus at 8:13 AM on September 30, 2013

Response by poster: I guess I was surprised that the fluid returned so quickly when I took the socks off, but peeing it out makes sense.
posted by hworth at 8:20 AM on September 30, 2013

Interstitial fluid --> lymphatic system --> thoracic duct --> jugular vein --> right atrium (stretching it and stimulating release of atrial natriuretic peptide) --> kidneys --> pee.

Perhaps more detail than you want, but just in case...
posted by TedW at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

What R Bunny said. You can get similar results when you lie down and elevate your feet. The body sends it to the kidneys. The kidneys send you to the bathroom. It works for me. Several times a night.
posted by mule98J at 10:56 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yep. From your tissues into your lymph system, then it works it's way up your body to be dumped into your blood, then hopefully excreted by your kidneys. Whatever portion your kidneys don't handle (because of any number of issues), gets redistributed into your tissues eventually.
posted by WasabiFlux at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2013

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