Croydon nth, VIC, Australia

I'm an elite distance runner from Australia. Australian 30+ age group champion over many distances. Have won nimerous major fun runs, and hold park run course records.

I am now 36 years old and have been living with a lymphatic issue in both legs for about 7 years now. First noticed fluid retention in both legs during a gym session 7 years ago. I get the fluid retention in both legs similarly. The only thing to alleviate it is elevating the legs above my heart level. Compression minimizes it slightly but there is still pitting in both limbs after standing or sitting with my legs hanging for a while. This does go down overnight if my legs are elevated for at least 6 hours. Most mornings I am back to 100% normal, but this quickly goes away with standing.

I can only do my running training or races in the morning. If I have to do it after work my legs are swollen and don't function properly. Therefore I can't race at night, and most of the big meets are night races. I have tried taking the day off work and lying in bed all day with my legs up, but come race time I'm very sluggish and race terribly anyway. If I run at the end of the day with the swelling, running doesn't make it go away and it's very uncomfortable, but I need to stop for a toilet break, as I believe the fluid is slowly making its way out of my body. If I train early in the day, before fluid retention is present, training doesn't make it worse, and I can run 100% fine and run to my best. My issue is that my lymph system doesn't work against gravity. Even if I'm walking all day, this isn't enough to pump the lymph fluid out of my legs. Elevation is the only thing that alleviates it. I have had blood tests, heart function tests, lymphoscintogram, venous duplex scans, tried going gluten free for 5 months, became vegan 3 years into the lymph problem. Nothing has helped or come up with any reasons why this is happening.