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Swollen Ankles and Legs

One of the first signs of secondary heart (soleus muscle) insufficiency is swelling of the lower legs, ankles, and feet.

This swelling is caused by interstitial fluid pooling into the tissues of these structures. Interstitial fluid is fluid which leaves the blood stream and provides nutrients to the cells in all tissues. In addition, this fluid picks up waste products to be returned to the circulatory system. Normally, interstitial fluid is collected by the lymphatic system, and then muscle pumping, in the lower body, soleus muscle pumping plays an essential role in pushing this fluid back up to the heart.

If muscle pumping activity is not adequate, then interstitial fluid collects in the lower limbs. Once collected, the only way to remove this fluid is through massage or by elevating the limbs. Another approach is to try and prevent this fluid pooling by using compression stockings, but such stocking can be quite uncomfortable, and as well result in increased tissue pressure which can reduce blood flow into the lower legs and feet resulting in complications of poor circulation.

A better approach is to address the underlying cause of lower limb fluid pooling, which is soleus muscle insufficiency. The HeartPartner has been designed specifically to activate the soleus muscles in order to both pump fluids out of the lower legs as well as to train up the soleus muscles so that they serve as effective pumps even in the absence of stimulation. Clinical research by Dr. Goddard and coworkers at Binghamton University has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the HeartPartner to quickly remove pooled interstitial fluid from the lower limbs.