Edema of extremities
kayla_mess posted:
Hi, I am a nursing student and stumbled upon a question regarding edema of the extremities. I would like to know which is the better for treating edema symptoms: warm compress or cold compress. I would think that a warm compress would make symptoms worse b/c of vasodilation, however a textbook says that a warm compress helps edema. Can anyone explain why that is? Thanks!
cardiostarusa1 responded:
Hi Kayla:

I know that when my eldery mom has had occurrences of edema, specifically in the ankle/foot/leg, be it from diastotic dysfunction (diastolic heart failure), cellulitis or venous insufficiency, one of the treatments almost always involved (as recommended by her doctors) was warm compresses, or sometimes, just lightly placing a warm rag over the affected area(s) for about an hour several times a day, and sometimes using a hearting pad.

Leg Swelling


Leg Edema


I hope you go on to become a great nurse.

Take care,


WebMD member (since 8/99)



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