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Simple Self-Care for Swollen Ankles and Feet

Health & Wellness  (tags: feet, swelling, edema, dehydration, AlternativeMed, body, health, healthcare, humans, illness, treatment )

- 3933 days ago -
Simple Self-Care for Swollen Ankles and Feet

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Rabbit R (85)
Friday September 14, 2007, 5:46 pm

Simple Self-Care for Swollen Ankles and Feet

Jamison Starbuck, ND - University of Montana
patient recently visited my office, complaining of puffy calves, ankles and feet. We quickly discovered the cause -- she had spent more than seven hours sitting on a flight returning from Europe. Other common causes of edema [water accumulation] in the calves, ankles and/or feet include dehydration, prolonged standing or excessive exposure to extreme temperatures [hot or cold]. In these cases, the swelling lasts just a few hours or a day or two.
But edema also can be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as congestive heart failure, circulatory problems or kidney disease. Congestive heart failure leads to sodium retention, which causes an accumulation of fluid in the body. In kidney disease, salt and water retention may lead to swelling in the lower legs, the face and eventually the entire body.
If you have swollen legs and/or feet for more than two days, see your doctor. If you've recently had surgery or the swelling is only on one side or accompanied by skin discoloration, pain or heat, call your doctor's office and ask to be seen immediately. You may have a blood clot or an infection -- both can be life-threatening. Other causes of edema...
Chronic disease. Most people who have heart, circulatory or kidney problems benefit from taking a diuretic, a type of medication that helps your body eliminate water via the urine. Most conventional doctors prescribe a synthetic diuretic, such as hydrochlorothiazide [Microzide] or furosemide [Lasix]. Because these drugs can raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels, I recommend dandelion instead. The root and leaf of dandelion are commonly used to treat liver disease, but the leaf alone is one of nature's best diuretics. Dandelion also reduces lipid [fat] levels and improves HDL "good" cholesterol.
What to do: Drink three eight-ounce cups of dandelion leaf tea per day until the swelling subsides. To prepare the tea, use two teaspoons of dried leaf or two tea bags per cup of boiling water. Steep covered for six minutes, and strain before drinking. If you prefer tincture, use teaspoon in two ounces of water, two times per day, at least 15 minutes before or after meals. Dandelion is safe and can be used on a regular basis. If you take blood pressure medications or want to substitute dandelion for another diuretic, alert your doctor so he/she can monitor any interactions and help you determine the proper dose for you.
Dehydration. If your feet and legs swell when you get overheated, travel by plane, drink alcohol or several cups of coffee or eat salty food, water is your best medicine. The puffiness can indicate that your body is dehydrated and that it's trying to retain water.
What to do: Drink at least ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Elevate your lower legs for 10 minutes each hour, and walk for 10 minutes once every two waking hours. The swelling should subside within a day.
Bottom Line/Health interviewed Jamison Starbuck, ND, a naturopathic physician in family practice and a lecturer at the University of Montana, both in Missoula. She is past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a contributing editor to The Alternative Advisor: The Complete Guide to Natural Therapies and Alternative Treatments [Time Life]. Please send comments and suggestions for future columns to Dr. Starbuck in care of Bottom Line/Health, Box 10702, Stamford, CT 06913-2061or via E-mail at
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Blue Bunting (855)
Friday September 14, 2007, 7:02 pm
Thank you, Rabbit, the information in this article was very helpful; especially about high cholesterol and dandelion tea!

Past Member (0)
Friday September 14, 2007, 7:21 pm
I agree with Blue Bunting- Thank you!

Rabbit R (85)
Friday September 14, 2007, 7:40 pm

My pleasure Ladies and I hope it eases any suffering you may have or that of those you may know.

RC deWinter (418)
Saturday September 15, 2007, 7:14 am
I love to lie on my long couch with my feet elevated at the other wonders for tired ankles and feet.

Tim Redfern (581)
Saturday September 15, 2007, 1:26 pm
Rabbit, you are amazing, my dear!
I'll be getting myself some dandelion
tea ASAP. I have Systemic Lupus, advanced
Emphysema and congestive heart failure.
There are times when I retain water like
a pregnant woman, and I HATE Lasix!!, for
obvious reasons! I'm sure that dandelion
tea would be a much gentler and just-as
effective a diruetic. Excellent tip!

Rabbit R (85)
Saturday September 15, 2007, 4:07 pm

Congratulations! The Care2 Community has promoted your submission to the Care2 News Network Front Page.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to read, comment and pass on this important story.

Glad to help Tim. I hope it brings you ease.

Susan Duncan (25)
Saturday September 15, 2007, 10:50 pm
Interesting article. I would much rather try a natural remedy first if confronted with a non-threatening health issue than run to the doctor for a flavor-of-the-month drug.

Pat C (1)
Sunday August 5, 2012, 8:09 am
I think it is wonderful that there is a natural and potentially free solution; my local tap water is not potable, causes kidney problems, and makes my skin itch, so I have a challenge acquiring clean water for drinking. I filter and boil water from the rain barrel to compensate.

Thomas Faulkner (0)
Thursday November 1, 2012, 8:47 am
I have had the same problem as above whit much pain an no sleep. I went to the drug store and they didn't have any good ideas so I just picked up a homeopathic product call Arnicare Gel. It worked very fast with the pain and now the swelling is going down relatively fast.

Don't know if it will work with you but I was ready for anything. FYI


Thomas Faulkner (0)
Thursday November 1, 2012, 8:49 am
Sorry Arnicare by Boiron.

divergent revolution (309)
Friday April 12, 2013, 3:22 pm
my bf has this problem ever since a stupid Dr...put him on steroids for a problem he had
called the dr numerous times,about the problem...said something about diuretics,never called back when roid rage set in, been using dandelion and milk thistle, every once and a while ,like today,it acts up???
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