One of the causes of poor circulation in the legs is the inappropriate function of the valves in the veins. All veins have valves that help to keep the blood flowing back to the heart by closing at certain intervals as the blood passes through them and onward to the heart. The legs have a more difficult time getting blood to return to the heart, as the blood has to overcome gravity, however the valves assist in this passing of the blood.
When the valves have stretched out of shape, as we get older, it is much more difficult for the veins to pass the blood along and back to the heart. This is called chronic venous insufficiency or varicose veins. With lack of support of the valves, the blood pools down around the ankles and causes swelling of the ankles and the feet.
One of the remedies for this situation is to elevate your legs. Lye down with your head on 1 pillow or less and support your legs with at least 2 or 3 pillows so that their level is above that of your chest to allow the blood to flow back to the heart. The legs have to be on a plane higher than your heart.
I also suggest using ice gel packs to place under the heels and over the ankles while lying down. It feels especially refreshing in this summer heat we are experiencing and will cool down your body temperature. This should be done in the morning and in the evening.
Another helpful hint is to walk for 30 minutes per day. And, if you are sitting for any length of time, get up and walk around at regular intervals as sitting also causes blood pooling in the ankles and feet.
Things You Will NeedPillows and gel ice packs. Compression hose may also be helpful to assist with circulation.
I have experienced vein stripping, and I have had lasor venous surgery as I was diagnosed with PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease) and told that my valves were not performing as they should. My legs, ankles, and feet, still swell and I find that lying down with my feet up and with ice, twice a day, definitely does help.