Swollen feet can result from wearing high heels or poor-fitting shoes for too long or participating in high-impact activities such as running. Aging, nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy, poor blood circulation, and premenstrual syndrome can also cause the feet to swell. Diabetics, pregnant women, and those with heart problems are more prone to this type of edema or swelling. Many home remedies can help soothe and treat swollen feet, often using products you already have at home.
Perhaps the most common and effective remedy for swollen feet is soaking feet in a bucket of warm water with Epsom salts. The magnesium sulfate in the salt is absorbed through the skin and reduces swelling and improves circulation. Water containing Epsom salts can even neutralize foot odor! Simply mix half a cup of Epsom salts into a bucket of warm water and soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes.
Massage is a great option for relaxing sore muscles and improving circulation. Placing pressure on problematic areas encourages lymph drainage, which reduces inflammation. Rubbing the feet with gentle yet firm motions in the direction of the heart can alleviate swollen feet. Applying mustard oil while massaging can have an even greater effect. While a professional foot massage is always helpful, this is an easy remedy to do at home, as well.
A lot of people do not drink enough water. As a result, the body fears dehydration and begins retaining the water to which it does have access to prevent this complication. This extra water causes swelling, and gravity often pulls this swelling downward. Increasing the amount of water you drink can help dilute sodium in the cells, which also causes inflammation and swelling. Lemon water can be especially effective — the inflammatory properties of the fruit can help flush toxins out of the body.
Lack of physical exercise can cause swollen feet. Yoga is an excellent way to improve circulation throughout the entire body. The gentle movements prevent blood from pooling in the feet and ankles. Postures that involve flexing and extending the feet are particularly effective in alleviating swelling. It is ideal to take a few classes when you are beginning to ensure you are doing poses correctly, but afterward, it is easy to do yoga at home.
A good swim doesn’t just relax the body; it reduces the amount of swelling in the feet and ankles as well. The buoyancy provided by the water places minimal stress and impact on the lower extremities, which, in turn, reduces inflammation. The cool temperature offers additional relief. A 30-minute swim has a positive impact on circulation and can help remove excess fluid lodged in the feet. For pregnant women, even simply standing in water that comes up to the torso can help ease aching feet.
Inflamed feet might be the result of magnesium deficiency, due to magnesium’s role in decreasing water retention. Supplements can offer relief until dietary adjustments take effect. Adding about 200mg twice a day will help ease inflammation, but it is important to speak to a doctor before taking any new supplements, especially if one is already on other medication. People with kidney disease should avoid magnesium supplements and consume magnesium-rich foods instead.
One of the biggest allies to swollen feet is inverted gravity. Propping up the feet while sitting or lying down can make a considerable difference — simply ensure the feet are a few inches above the heart. Occasionally flexing the ankles will encourage improved blood circulation in the extremities.
Dandelion is a helpful home remedy for swollen feet. The so-called weed has diuretic properties that enable it to process extra fluids and ease water retention. Drinking dandelion tea can regulate the amount of sodium in the body. Allow the mixture to steep for at least ten minutes and consume twice a day to see the benefits this plant has on foot edema.
Massaging the feet with essential oils such as eucalyptus, chamomile, and peppermint can relieve inflammation. Essential oils contain the essence of a specific plant and often offer a variety of benefits. Lavender, for instance, is known for relaxation but is also an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce swelling. Peppermint relieves pain and is also cooling. Add essential oils to a carrier such as olive or coconut oil and use them in a foot massage, or add them to Epsom salts before preparing a foot soak.
Compression socks and support hose can substantially reduce leg inflammation in individuals who deal with the issue on a regular basis. The tight-fitting socks prevent blood from pooling in the feet and stop the formation of varicose veins, improving circulation.
Reduce Sodium Intake
There are many health benefits associated with cutting back on sodium, and people with swollen feet may notice an improvement if they eat less salt. Doctors will try to identify the source of the fluid buildup and often suggest switching to a low-sodium diet as an early treatment option. Read food labels to determine salt content, and refrain from adding table salt to season meals.
Weight loss will take some pressure off swollen feet and ankles. Studies show that [even] modest weight loss has a positive impact on the dynamic plantar loading and foot function in adults who are overweight. Diet and exercise can help people with swollen ankles reach a healthier weight, which benefits general wellness and can lower the severity of future swelling.
Eat Coriander Seeds
Coriander is part of the parsley family, and its leaves are the popular herb cilantro. The seeds of coriander plants are naturally anti-inflammatory and can help minimize water retention while also promoting blood circulation. Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that coriander has analgesic and antimicrobial properties could help keep the feet clean and pain-free. Make coriander tea by boiling three tablespoons of coriander seeds in a cup of water and letting the mixture simmer until the water is reduced to half. Strain the mixture and let it cool before drinking. Experts recommend drinking coriander tea twice a day until swelling subsides.
Eat High-Potassium Foods
In addition to cutting back on salt, people who experience swelling in the feet might try adding more potassium to their diet, though any major dietary changes should be discussed with a doctor, first. Potassium is a diuretic, which means it can help curb water retention. On top of these potential, specific benefits, potassium — found in bananas, oranges, and sweet potatoes — can benefit heart and blood pressure health and keep bones and muscles healthy.
When to See a Doctor
Sometimes, home remedies are not enough. If pain or swelling in the feet persists for more than a few days, it’s time to seek medical attention. Intense physical activity or standing all day are common causes of swollen feet, but if rest and relaxation do not alleviate symptoms, a more serious issue could be to blame. Deep-vein thrombosis, heart failure, and kidney disease can all cause swollen feet, but individuals with these conditions may be experiencing other symptoms, as well. Diagnostic tests can determine any underlying cause.