9 Natural Home Remedies for Swollen Feet
Swollen feet and ankles slowing you down? Try one of these natural home remedies.
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Swollen foot remedy: Foot baths
If you often have swollen feet and no obvious cause (like a long day on your feet), your first stop is the doctor’s office. Chronically swollen feet can be a symptom of a number of medical conditions, from circulation to heart problems. But if you have ruled out other medical causes, there are a number of home remedies you can try for swollen feet. Hydrotherapy is a fancy name for alternating dips between hot and cold water baths and one of doctors’ go-to home cures, according to the book, Doctors’ Favorite Natural Remedies. The hot water allows the blood vessels to dilate, while the cold water causes them to contract. This helps improve circulation, which can reduce and prevent pooling of fluids in the feet and ankles. Try putting your feet in the hot water for three to five minutes, and then into the cold water bath for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue alternating between the two for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this a few times a day. If your tired feet need some more TLC, homemade foot scrubs are an easy solution.
Swollen foot remedy: Epsom salt
Give your bath a boost by adding Epsom salt. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is thought to reduce swelling and improve circulation and may give you relief from swelling and the pain associated with it. Although scientific research on this remedy is limited, it may be worth a try. Mix half a cup of Epsom salt in a foot tub with either warm or cool water for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat up to three times a week. Don’t miss the health secrets your feet wish they could tell you!
Swollen foot remedy: Exercise
It may seem counterintuitive to get up and move around when your feet and ankles feel twice their normal size. But using the muscles in your feet and legs can help move excess fluid out of your feet and back to your heart. Regular exercise can also help prevent swollen feet in the first place. If you’re sitting for a while, you should also get up and walk around often. If it’s simply too painful to exercise, try a non-weight-bearing exercise like swimming, which will have the added benefit of soothing your skin. Check out the clear signs you need to move more.
Swollen foot remedy: Compression socks
Compression socks work by applying pressure on your feet and legs to improve blood flow and most the blood up your legs, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. You can buy compression socks online or over the counter from your local drugstore. However, if your swelling, also called edema, is moderate or severe, you may want to ask your doctor about getting a prescription compression stocking. (Learn why heart failure causes swollen feet.)
Swollen foot remedy: Elevation
Elevate your legs above heart level when you’re sitting or lying down to decrease swelling. Try lying on your back with your legs propped against a wall for a few minutes several times a day. You may also want to rest your legs on a pillow or bolster while you’re sleeping. Check out other ideal sleep positions for common health conditions.
Swollen foot remedy: Magnesium
A magnesium deficiency can contribute to swelling in the feet and it causes water retention. If you get the okay from your doctor, try taking a 200 to 400 mg magnesium supplement daily, unless you have a kidney or heart condition. You can also up your magnesium intake naturally by adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet, like dark leafy greens, nuts, and even dark chocolate. Here are magnesium benefits that could save your life.
Swollen foot remedy: Salt limits
Reducing your salt intake can help decrease fluid retention. (These are signs you’re eating too much sodium.) Common high-salt culprits include pretzels, chips, fast foods, canned produce, and other pre-packaged items. Your doctor can give you advice on how much salt you should aim for. The American Heart Association recommends getting more no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day to reduce blood pressure, although 1,500 mg a day is even more desirable.
Swollen foot remedy: Massage
Massage can help relax muscles and improve circulation. It works by activating the lymphatic system, which can help move excess fluid out of your feet, reducing swelling. Do a little self-massage by stroking the feet toward your heart up to several times a day. Don’t massage so hard that it hurts, but do use firm pressure.
Swollen foot remedy: Water
While it may sound strange to drink more water if you’re retaining water, drinking eight or more glasses of water a day can actually prevent swelling. (Check out these tips for drinking more water.) Talk to your doctor if your foot swelling doesn’t go down.
- The Editors of Reader's Digest. Doctor's Favorite Natural Remedies. Reader's Digest, June 2016.
- Cleveland Clinic. "6 Best Fixes for Pain and Swelling in Your Feet and Ankles."
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Foot, Leg, and Ankle Swelling."
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Compression Stockings."
- International Journal of Nursing Practice. "Effect of foot massage to decrease physiological lower leg oedema in late pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial in Turkey." October 2010.
- American Heart Association The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations