There are many causes of swollen feet, but one of the most common is overuse. People who stand for extended periods of time, for example, may notice that their feet become painful and swollen at the end of the day. Sometimes, swelling does not go down overnight, and treatment is needed. In most cases, a medical evaluation is not necessary, although it is important to see your physician if swelling persists for more than a week with no obvious explanation. Luckily, there are many steps that you can take at home to relieve symptoms and reduce swelling.
Whenever you suffer from inflammation, elevating the affected area is a good way to decrease swelling. Luckily, swollen feet are easy to elevate. When relaxing, use a pillow to prop your feet up so that blood does not pool. If you are suffering from severe swelling, you may want to try this technique overnight: use pillows or blankets to create an incline at the foot of your bed. Your feet should rest above your heart to promote drainage and circulation. Taking NSAIDs before elevating the feet should help to speed recovery time.
Heat and Ice
Using heat and ice in combination can accelerate recovery time for swollen feet. To use this therapy, fill two-foot baths with water. One should contain warm water, and the other should contain ice cold water. First, submerge your feet in the warm water, making sure it rises above the ankle. After five minutes, remove your feet and insert them into the cold water. You should only keep them submerged in cold water for one minute before removing and drying them completely. This combination of hot and cold therapy will decrease inflammation, allowing you to walk without pain more quickly.
Epsom salts are always a popular home remedy thanks to their soothing properties. These salts have many purposes, but reducing inflammation is one of the most common. To properly use Epsom salts, you should fill a bathtub or footbath with warm water, then add one to two cups of salts. Soak the affected area for twenty minutes. The salts are made from magnesium, which is naturally anti-inflammatory. Soaking your swollen feet in an Epsom salt soak is sure to bring relief to tired, aching feet as they absorb all of the healing properties contained in the magnesium.
If swollen feet are a regular occurrence, compression socks may be the answer. Many professional athletes turn to compression gear to help them work through overuse injuries and strains. These types of socks increase blood flow by forcing the veins in your leg to contract. When feet become swollen, it is typically because standing for long periods of time or general overuse has caused blood to pool in them. This means the veins have become distended to hold the blood. Compression socks force the veins to return to their normal size, reducing both inflammation and pain.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Also, it is loaded with potassium, which can reduce fluid retention. That’s why many people swear by it as a remedy for swollen feet. You should always dilute the apple cider vinegar, using equal parts of water to soak your feet. If you do not have a foot bath to combine the vinegar and water in, try combining it in a small bowl and soaking a towel in it. Wrap the towel around your feet for 20 minutes, then rinse. The vinegar will relieve the swelling and pain so that you can walk again.
Ginger is another common home remedy for swollen feet. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, but more importantly, it can help to reduce sodium levels in the body. Since sodium is one of the primary causes of inflammation, this can be very beneficial. There are many ways to use ginger, from making pastes to drinking ginger tea. For swollen feet, however, the most effective way is to gently rub your feet with ginger oil, allowing it to absorb directly into the skin. Doing this three times a day will decrease inflammation and allow feet to return to normal in just a few days.
Although it may be painful at first, exercise can help to relieve foot inflammation. Most often, the cause of swollen feet is standing for too long. Walking and stretching the foot can help to keep circulation flowing, even though it requires being on your feet. For those who have to stand in one place for long periods of time, like cashiers, it is important to stretch the foot muscle regularly. At least once per hour, you should lift one leg at a time behind you and gently stretch the arch of the foot. This will keep blood flowing and reduce swelling, although it will not eliminate it.
Magnesium can be found in Epsom salts, but it can also be taken orally. Magnesium supplements are available at most grocery stores and pharmacies and are fairly inexpensive. This important nutrient regulates many bodily functions, including blood pressure. Adding more magnesium can help with circulation, getting blood to flow efficiently rather than allowing it to pool in the feet. Magnesium can be found in many foods, including green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. It is also found in most nuts, legumes, and whole grains, which makes it easy to add more magnesium to your diet.
A poor diet does not typically cause swollen feet, but not having a proper diet can worsen symptoms. It is very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day. The recommended amount is eight glasses, even if you are not a very active person. Dehydration can cause swelling since your body tries to retain water. Also, consuming too much sodium can cause an increase in water retention as well. Try to reduce the amount of salt in your diet, use spices to flavor foods and avoid pre-packaged meals that are filled with sodium.
Whether you pay someone, ask a friend, or do it yourself, massaging swollen feet is one of the best ways to reduce pain and inflammation. Rubbing the foot will cause the blood to flow more evenly, reducing swelling and decreasing pain. Grasp the foot with both hands and apply firm, even pressure to the swollen area, kneading the muscles. There is no set time for foot massages, so you can rub the foot for as long as it is comfortable. Using this technique in combination with NSAIDs or other anti-inflammatory treatments can quickly relieve your symptoms.