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Pain Management

The $10 Cure That Got Rid Of One Woman’s Cankles and Shrunk Her Swollen Legs

After years of hiding her "family legs," Linda Anne finally found a cure.

All her life, Linda Anne Kahn suffered with swollen, painful legs that no diet or exercise relieved. Not even her doctor could provide a cure. Then she discovered a simple at-home technique that got rid of her cankles and drained the inflammation in her legs.

How can I go on like this?” Linda Anne Kahn groaned, collapsing on her couch. After a long day on her feet, the San Diego aesthetician and massage therapist’s legs were swollen and painful… again.

For as long as she could remember, Linda Anne had struggled with what loved ones had teased were “family” legs — which were large and puffy, just like her grandmother’s.
Despite years of yo-yo dieting and exercising, she never figured out how to get rid of cankles and her legs never got slimmer. Eventually, she lost all definition in her ankles, and her legs began to feel painful to the touch. Adding to her frustration and sadness, Linda Anne’s doctor dismissed her concerns, telling her to simply “exercise more.”

With no real answers, Linda Anne did her best to hide her legs under clothing. Summers were hardest. The swelling worsened in warm weather. No matter how hot it was, Linda Anne never wore shorts and wore a cover-up at the beach or pool, often too embarrassed to even go into the water. Then, when she was in her 40s, Linda Anne took a class in manual lymph drainage (MLD), a light, skinstretching massage that stimulates the lymphatic system to drain excess fluid and toxins from tissues and fat. (It can be done by hand or with a natural bristle brush, under $10 on Amazon.) As another student practiced the technique on Linda Anne’s legs, the instructor matter-of-factly stated, “You have lipedema.” Lipedema, she explained, is a genetic disease that causes excess fat to build up in the legs and arms, causing swelling and pain.

Linda Anne wept at finally having an answer — but also from fear. She worried her legs would become even larger. But over the three-week course, the class practiced MLD on one another and Linda Anne was amazed as the swelling and pain in her legs lessened. Maybe there is hope, she thought.

Inspired, Linda Anne started doing MLD on herself once a day. Using a dry brush, she’d start at her ankles and quickly stroke up the front of her legs to her groin five times, then repeat up the back of her legs to her buttocks. Finally, starting where her buttocks meet her legs, she’d stroke around to the groin. To her joy, she was able to keep the swelling down, which eased her pain.

Thrilled with the results, Linda Anne has been using the simple technique to get rid of cankles ever since, not only to manage her lipedema but to keep it from progressing. “My life has really changed,” she says. “At 72, my legs look and feel better than ever. I’m three pant sizes smaller than I was 20 years ago. I couldn’t be happier.”

Amazing Whole-Body Benefits of Dry Brushing

Erases cellulite: The lymph system ferries waste-filled fluids out of the body. But when it gets backed up, bumps and dimples can form beneath the skin, says health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. Dry-brushing revives lymph circulation to expel the toxins that create cellulite

Eases stiffness: Taking 30 seconds every hour to move your muscles — think arm circles or leg lifts — can prevent muscle stiffness, say Cornell University researchers. Turns out even small movements help your lymphatic system flush away toxins that make joints ache.

Relieves pain: Italian scientists have found that jumping on a mini trampoline (called rebounding) eases pain by 88%! They say the jumping motion kick-starts lymph flow to eliminate pain-triggering compounds.

Click through for more on what cause swollen ankles and other home cures:

MDs Share Natural Ways to Shrink Swollen Ankles — Plus the Kind of Swelling That Requires Immediate Medical Treatment

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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