Swollen hands and legs during exercise. Low carb for 3 years


(Dee) #1

Hi- I’m completely perplexed and am looking for some help with swelling hands and sometimes lower legs during exercise.
Background: I’ve been low carb for the past 3 years. I’m a 48 yr old female, 135 pounds, 5’4". Insulin sensitive, no issues with weight or health and no medication in the past or the present.
Due to COVID, I’ve been working from home since mid-March, and have logged a lot of miles walking in the evening–usually between 2-5 miles/day. When the temps started getting warmer in May, I noticed that my hands and sometimes lower legs would swell during my walks.
Not sure what is going on as my eating has been clean and I don’t even eat that much (usually drink coffee in the morning and have my first meal by noon and then an early dinner.) I have tried to decrease my coffee consumption in the morning from 24 oz to 16 oz, I add plenty of salt to my food, and I drink either water or sparkling water with some electrolytes.

Am I taking in too much salt, or maybe I’m not drinking enough water? I have no idea. But I feel like I drink a lot of liquids throughout the day and am constantly peeing. Am I low in potassium? No clue.
Does anyone else experience swelling during outdoor exercise while eating clean low carb?

Appreciate this forum and any help. Thanks.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Have you been doing all this for a long time already? Or is the exercise something new? If new, then it may just be your body putting up some resistance. Assuming you’re healthy and aren’t injuring anything, the discomfort will probably pass. If you drink even if you’re not thirsty, then you’re probably drinking more than you need, which could result in edema in your legs. Maybe your hands if you swing them a lot while walking.

For what it’s worth, which may be nothing, I drink a liter of coffee every morning without issues.

(Dee) #3

@amwassil: thanks for your reply. To answer your question, while I’ve been walking a lot more during this pandemic, it’s not really a new exercise–I have a long history of walking, jogging, running and 1x per week of resistance training. I’m pretty slim and fit. I could be stronger, but I’m not weak by any means.
Nothing has really changed except a tighter control of my food intake, sitting for most of the day due to working from home, and just more walking outside.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #4

For your legs my first suggestion would be support stockings. I started wearing them because of varicose veins, but found that my legs felt much better/normal after my work shifts since starting to wear them daily. Other than that, maybe you’ve already done a google search, but if not here’s a start:

(Edith) #5

The summer heat tends to make tissues swell, if you are currently in the summer season that could be a factor. When you are walking your arms/hands dangle and blood can pool in those low hanging extremities.

Also, I think exercise in general brings more fluid to our tissues via increased blood flow and that will make things puff up.

(Dee) #6

Thanks @VirginiaEdie. It does seem to be tied to the heat. I truly hate the feeling of my hands being swollen. Just seems odd for someone who is healthy, eats clean low-carb, and is fit. Online Google or Youtube searches of edema or electrolytes just don’t provide an adequate answer…and I want to know how to prevent this…Thomas DeLauer on YouTube has been the best resource, but nothing definitive…

(Edith) #7

These may help.

This article repeats some info in the previous two articles.


(Dee) #8

Thank you @VirginiaEdie! I had been looking more into electrolyte imbalances, but the hot temps and increased blood flow may be more likely in my case.

(Allan Misner) #9

The only time I’ve dealt with swelling is during very long runs. Are there any other trends your noticing (besides the temperature)?

It could be an electrolyte issue, but without a blood test (or experimenting with sodium and potassium supplementation) I couldn’t say what is causing it.