Swollen ankles and feet are a common problem, especially for people who spend long hours standing. However, when swollen feet become a persistent problem, it could be a sign of something more serious, including pregnancy complications, injury, lymphatic fluid buildup, poor circulation, neuropathy, or genetic conditions.
Some swelling in the ankles and feet is normal, but if you find it happening regularly, there are things you can do to alleviate the problem. Before you call your doctor, try these seven best remedies for swollen ankles and feet.
1. Compression Socks
When venous insufficiency takes hold, it can cause a loss of proper circulation to your hands, ankles, and feet. With this condition, blood flow through the veins in the legs to the heart (and back) is insufficient. In order to boost blood flow to these areas, you may want to consider purchasing a pair of compression stockings. Available in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, compression socks are made to increase blood flow from your extremities, back into your heart to reduce swelling caused by poor circulation. Compression socks are an ideal choice for pregnant women.
These are substances that help to remove excess water and other fluids from the body by increasing urine volume. You can purchase diuretics in supplement form as water pills, or additionally you can simply add more of these diuretic foods to your everyday menu.
3. Ice Bath
When you are suffering from swollen feet due to an injury like a sprain or ankle strain, it could be due to inflammation of soft tissues in the area, including damaged tendons and ligaments. When these areas become irritated, a soak in an ice bath may help. Additionally, you may want to wrap the swollen foot in a compression bandage and apply an icepack at night, while elevating the foot on a pillow.
4. Foot Massage
When lymphatic fluids pool in the ankles and feet, it can cause swelling. Because the lymphatic system does not have it’s own source of circulation (as blood does with the heart), it requires stimulation to increase lymph flow. Without stimulus, the fluids can quickly build up, potentially causing health problems. Improve the circulation of lymphatic fluid in your legs and feet to eliminate swelling with regular exercise or a hot oil foot massage. Simply add a quarter-sized drop of olive oil to the palms of your hands, and gently rub in into your feet and ankles.
5. Drink More Water
It may seem strange to drink more fluids when you are trying to get rid of excess water in the body. However, most people do not get the recommended amount of water they need daily to stave off foot swelling caused by the retention of minerals like sodium. For men, the daily recommendation is about 13 cups (3 liters), and for women it is about 9 cups (2.2 liters).1
6. Try a Supplement
A nutritional deficiency can cause swelling in the feet. Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common causes, as it contributes to edema. A magnesium supplement may provide some relief from fluid retention, at 200 mg a day. But always check with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.2
7. Find Your Zen
The ancient practice of yoga has been used for centuries to improve overall health, and stimulate circulation. The gentle stretching involved in yoga may help to cut back on swelling throughout the body, including in your feet. There are many simple asanas (poses) to choose from, including mountain pose, warrior I, chair pose, and downward dog.
If your ankles and feet swell, it could be more than just an embarrassing problem. It can cause pain and get in the way of your everyday life. Swelling may prevent you from getting through long work days, or from wearing proper footwear to protect your feet due to the enlargement. Stop suffering, and try these seven remedies for swollen feet, today. If the problem persists, call your doctor to see if your foot swelling could be the sign of something more serious.
1. Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
2. Walker AF, De Souza MC. Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention. J Womens Health. 1998 Nov;7(9):1157-65.