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10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles

10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles

Are you coping with swelling? Check out some of these natural solutions to help relieve swollen feet and ankles!


Swelling in your feet and ankles is called edema, and there are a lot of things that can cause the problem, from high blood pressure to pregnancy. What’s happening is your body is having trouble fighting gravity to move blood and fluids back up your legs, so your ankles, feet, and even your legs can begin to swell.

Edema on its own is not harmful, but it is uncomfortable. If you are seeing one foot or leg swelling a lot more than the other, or your face is swelling, you do want to call your doctor, because the cause could be a blood clot, and you don’t want to wait to address that problem.

That uncomfortable swelling is not actually a disorder, just a symptom, and the best way to treat it is to treat the root cause. If you’re swelling because of pregnancy, it should go down not long after you deliver. Talk to your doctor to see what could be causing your swelling.

Whatever the reason, these remedies can help give you some relief while you sort out the cause of your edema.

Main Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by DioBurto

shoulder stand

10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles


1. Try a magnesium supplement

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to edema, and taking a supplement can help give you some relief. Most of the recommendations I’ve seen are for 200mg twice a day, but if you’re pregnant you’ll want to talk to your doctor about that first. The RDA for magnesium is 350mg per day, and your doctor might not want you taking an extra 400mg, since you’re also probably getting magnesium in your prenatal vitamin and your diet.

At six months pregnant, I started taking 250mg of magnesium in the evenings, and the difference in my swelling was dramatic without changing anything else.

2. Do a Little Yoga

Exercise can help improve your circulation, and yoga is a great way to get moving and really focus on that circulatory system. Check out these yoga poses to improve circulation to get you going!

Of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before starting up with yoga, especially if you haven’t been doing it before. If you’re totally new to yoga, I highly recommend taking a class. A yoga instructor can not only help you overcome any hesitations you have about yoga, but she or he will make sure you are doing the poses properly and might even be able to suggest additional postures to help with your edema! Once you have a swing of how the poses feel, you can practice at home.

Related: 5 Best Prenatal Yoga Poses

3. Soak in Tonic Water

This one might sound a little odd, but soaking in room temperature – or cold, if it’s not too uncomfortable – tonic water can help with swelling. The quinine and the bubbles can help reduce inflammation, and frankly just soaking your poor, swollen feet feels great!

4. Grab Some Grapefruit Essential Oil

A warm bath can also help with swelling, and you can give that water a boost with a few drops of grapefruit essential oil! You can also just fill a bucket with nice, warm water to soak in.

If baths aren’t your thing, you can also mix a few drops of grapefruit oil with a carrier oil like olive or sweet almond oil and give yourself a little foot and leg massage. As you rub your feet, ankles, and calves, focus your pressure upward, rather than downward or in a circular motion.

5. Do a Salt Water Soak

Adding a healthy dose of Epsom salts to the tub is another way to boost that bath. Like the grapefruit oil, you can also just use a bucket, if you’re only having swelling in your feet and ankles. If your calves are swollen, too, a bath is probably your best bet.

Epsom salts are like magic for swelling. Even before I was pregnant, I took occasional salt baths after super long runs to help my muscles relax.

See: A Refreshing Treatment for Tired Feet

 

massage

6. Treat Yourself to a Massage

A massage therapist can do wonders for swollen feet and ankles! Don’t be shy about mentioning the problem when you get to your appointment, so she or he can focus on getting things moving in your lower extremities.

If you are pregnant, I’d recommending finding a therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. A prenatal massage therapist will be much more knowledgeable about how to make you comfortable. Seriously, I have never had so many pillows around me in my life, but all of that really does help make it a more beneficial experience.

7. Get Some Support Hose

Support hose or compression gear can prevent swelling, especially from being on your feet. You can find compression socks that come knee- or thigh-high or full-on compression stockings. These suckers are hard to get on, because they’re meant to be pretty tight on your legs, but they can really make a difference.

I have read a lot of great experiences with compression socks, but I’ve found that they start out feeling amazing, and after about four hours they start to make my feet cramp. You can find footless compression stockings, so if you experience the same problem, that might be a good solution for you.

8. Elevate Those Feet

Gravity is not your friend when it comes to edema, so elevate your feet every chance you get! When you’re relaxing in the evening, prop your legs up on some pillows. Ideally, you want your feet above your heart. Take THAT, gravity!

If you work a day job, try to find a way to prop your feet up under your desk. Even elevating a bit can make a big difference in your swelling as the day goes on.

9. Make a Splash

Swimming or even floating in water can help with swollen feet and ankles. The pressure from the water can help get things moving in your legs, and floating gives your circulatory system a break from gravity’s constant pull. If you don’t have a pool, check out local gyms to see what they offer.

10. Drink Up!

Excess salt is a big contributor to swelling, and upping your fluid intake can help dilute the salt in your system. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water per day to flush things out. Even better? Try making cucumber-lemon water! Just drop a couple of cucumber and lemon slices in your glass, and enjoy! Both of these fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, so if gives that water an extra swelling-fighting punch!

Have you guys found any natural remedies that help with swollen feet and ankles? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!

Related:
5 Best Prenatal Yoga Poses
3 Strange Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sources:

  • http://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/natural-remedies-for-swollen-feet.html
  • http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/third-trimester/qa/swollen-feet-and-ankles-during-pregnancy.aspx?MsdVisit=1
  • http://www.progressivehealth.com/magensium-fluid-retention.htm?gclid=CJvflYb5wLQCFSOnPAodKQQA3Q

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo via Witches Fall Cottages

Read more: Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, General Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, Natural Remedies, Obstetrics, Women's Health, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

501 comments

+ add your own
9:19AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

thanks

9:17AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Thanks for the good suggestions.

9:12AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Thanks for sharing.

9:05AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

I wear compression stockings at all times and elevate feet, yes above the level of my heart. Still, I need to take a daily diuretic.

8:57AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Thanks--will be trying out a couple of these tips.

7:15AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Thank you

7:14AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

All of these are good suggestions, but often times there is an underlying medical cause for edema. Good luck though, finding a dr. that will actually look for a cause. My feet and legs were swollen something awful. I had my heart checked out and it was deemed in great shape. Seeing an endocrinologist for a thyroid problem has not helped at all. Most drs. just go by the numbers and ignore all the symptoms. If you have this problem, find a holistic dr. as they treat the body as a whole.

7:06AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Thank you

6:02AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

Interesting article for most people, BUT don't ever start taking supplements until blood work is done...Sometimes too much of a good thing, can cause other serious damage.
AND, some medications also will cause some swelling of the feet and ankle; that is the issue we have now, and two doctors agree. The swelling normally doesn't kick in until after my husband's noon dose of a needed BP medicine. Unfortunately, the med is one he needs and there is not the proper substitute for it. The podiatrist (and then the PC concurred) that also a foot injury as a child damaged the foot, and adds to the swelling issues.
BUT, if you have the swelling, see a doctor and find out the cause...many times the doctor will prescribe several of the above things for you to do.

5:59AM PDT on Jun 2, 2015

thanks

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