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Can hot steam bath cause swollen ankles?

Monday, 06 September 2004
Answered by: Dr. D.D.K. Rolston
Consultant Physician,
Cleveland Clinic Foundation,
Cleveland, USA
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Q. I work in Kuwait, my nature of work involves very less physical activity and has made me obese. Of late, I have started walking for an hour. I didn't have any problem so last week I joined swimming classes. After an hour of swimming, I had a hot steam bath then spent some time in the jacuzzi. It was alright that day but the next day my ankles were swollen and I couldn't walk. Two years back I had the same problem and I discontinued swimming after two or three classes. What could be the reason? My veins are red near my ankle?

A.  Some people develop swelling of the hands and feet when they are exposed to heat. It appears that this is what happened to you. The exact cause is not known but it is likely that the swelling is the result of excessive dilatation of the blood vessels and consequent leak of fluid from within the blood vessels. I would suggest that you continue to swim regularly and then shower in luke warm or cold water (depending on the water temperature). Exercise is good for you so I would not advise you to abandon swimming.

A.  Some people develop swelling of the hands and feet when they are exposed to heat. It appears that this is what happened to you. The exact cause is not known but it is likely that the swelling is the result of excessive dilatation of the blood vessels and consequent leak of fluid from within the blood vessels. I would suggest that you continue to swim regularly and then shower in luke warm or cold water (depending on the water temperature). Exercise is good for you so I would not advise you to abandon swimming.

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