Do you often wish that work would end fast so you can just get into bed or prop up your feet? Do you dread wearing high heels for fear that the swelling in your feet won’t go away for the next 3 days? People who have swollen feet often suffer silently as they feel that theirs isn’t a serious medical condition and will go away with a little rest. There are other things to worry about in life, aren’t they?
Well, if the swelling in your feet is recurrent, it will be wise to take care of it before it turns into something serious.
Swollen Feet: Why Does This Happen?
Why is it that your feet are constantly swollen after a day of work or some walking? Some reasons are pretty simple. However, others require some attention. Here is a list to see if your case of swollen feet matches any of these causes:
- Standing too long: A long period of standing (or sitting) is the most common and simple cause behind swollen feet.
- Injury: If you have sustained an ankle or foot injury recently, you can develop swollen feet for weeks afterwards.
- High impact activities: Extreme sports, running, etc. can all be probable causes for swollen feet, especially if you are ill-trained for them.
- Obesity: Well, the feet do carry a whole lot of extra weight; this is their way of complaining!
- Excessive intake of salt and alcohol: Both of these cause water retention and swollen feet.
- Some medications: for diabetes, birth control, depression, etc. enlist oedema of the feet as one of their possible side effects. Check with your doctor.
Besides, some underlying medical conditions such as arthritis, thyroid problems, allergic reactions, varicose veins, venous insufficiency and lymphatic obstruction may also at times trigger swelling (or Oedema) in the feet.
Swollen Feet: Who is at Risk?
If you belong to any or many of the following categories, you are most susceptible to swelling in the feet and/or ankles. Check if you are:
- Above age 45
- Pregnant (in the third trimester)
- A laxatives/ diuretics user
Swollen Feet: When to Seek Medical Help?
Most cases of oedema in the feet go away after a little bit of rest and elevating the feet. However, you must consider consulting a doctor if the swelling has started interfering with your normal day-to-day activities. If you develop pain, high temperature, local heat and redness, it is wise to mention this to your doctor. CAUTION: Pregnant women who develop infrequent urination, vomiting or nausea, blurred vision and/or abdominal pain along with foot oedema must rush to the doctor as it can indicate a life-threatening complication – preeclampsia.
Swollen Feet: What can you do?
In case your swollen feet indicate no serious medical condition, but are just a nuisance you normally put up with, here are some easy swollen feet remedies and practices you can adopt in the comfort of your home to combat it. They are all easy to do and very cost-effective. Most of them use equipment and cures that are found in every home.
Home Remedies for Swollen Feet
1. Soak Up The Saline:
This is probably the most common remedy for tired and swollen feet. Take half a cup of Epsom Salt (crystals of hydrated magnesium sulphate, useful in curing muscle soreness) or simply common salt in half a bucket or tub of warm water. Soak your feet in the saline solution for 10-15 minutes and feel immediate relief. You can do this each night before retiring to bed.
2. Elevate To Alleviate Swelling:
This is something you can try while sitting at work or lying down in bed at home. When at work, prop up your feet on a stool and keep flexing the ankles at regular intervals. When you are in the comfort of your bed, you can try elevating the feet (to the point where they are at least a foot above the heart’s level). This can be done by propping the feet on some cushions or even on the wall for 5-10 minutes. I have tried it many times, and it is immensely and immediately relieving.
3. Tonic Water:
For those of you living in the medical Dark Age, Tonic water is carbonated water to which a little quinine has been added. Initially used as a cure for malaria, tonic water is also a good way to bring down the swelling of the feet. Soak your feet in cold or room temperature tonic water. The quinine acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and the fizz in the carbonated water is a great relaxant.
4. Contrast Baths:
This is another way to alleviate swelling of the feet that uses the easiest of all mediums – water. One of the best natural remedies for swollen feet. Take half a bucket of hot water (not scalding hot, or you will be reading ‘home remedies for hot water burns’ next!) and another half bucket of cold water (not icy cold). Soak your feet in the hot water first and switch to the cold water bucket after about 10-15 minutes. Switch back to hot water one last time, this time for about 5 minutes. This works by encouraging better blood circulation in the feet. As a bonus, you get some free time to read, listen to music, meditate or just chill!
5. Baking Powder To The Rescue:
This simple, unassuming ingredient has many remedial benefits. To solve your swollen feet issue, take a 1:1 mixture of baking powder and rice water (boil rice and use the starchy water). Example: take 2 teaspoons of baking powder in 2 teaspoons of rice water. Make a paste and apply it over your feet. You can also take a larger quantity of this paste, add some water to it and soak your feet in it. The baking powder and rice act as water absorbers.
6. Essential Oil Soak:
Take essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon with some water and use this aromatic mixture to soak your swollen feet for about 15 minutes. Essential oils have nothing to do with the word ‘important’; they mean that the oils contain the ‘essence’ of a particular plant. Besides alleviating the swelling in the feet, this remedy also acts as a natural relaxant through its beautiful aroma.
7. Lemony Solution:
To concoct this remedy, take some lemon juice, cinnamon powder, olive oil, milk and water. Mix these in a container till it becomes sort of a paste. Apply it all over your swollen feet. This remedy is best used as an overnight solution for swollen feet. Your feet will soak up the beneficial ingredients and you will wake up without swelling or stiffness in the feet.
8. Check What You Eat:
The oedema in your feet could very possibly be caused by poor eating habits. Make sure to include a lot of magnesium in your diet as it improves circulation. Also avoid foods high in sodium content. Sodium is known to be water retentive. Also, stay as hydrated as possible. Don’t skimp on those 8-10 glasses of water that every web page on healthy living screams about. Protein and uric acid build up in the body cause foot swelling and can be washed out by proper hydration.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Strange, but true. Apple cider vinegar when applied to swollen feet and ankles acts as an immediate relief. The vinegar has an effective fluid absorption action which makes the feet lose excess fluid buildup. Once the excess fluid is gone, so will the swelling and stiffness. One of the good swollen ankle remedies.
If fluid retention is the culprit behind your swollen feet, you can bust it with this herb. Steep a ‘tea’ made of dried parsley leaves and drink 2-3 cups per day. Parsley is a natural diuretic, which will help the body in expelling excess fluid.
11. Barley Water:
This yucky-tasting mixture is a wonderful diuretic. Simply take a handful of barley grains and boil them in water until it takes on a light brown hue. Strain and cool this solution and consume 1-2 glasses per day. The barley will help the body in washing out toxins that build up due to fluid retention and bring down oedema in the feet.
12. Shop For Better Shoes:
Already feeling better at the mention of shopping! If you have constant swelling of the feet, the cause might be the wrong footwear. Switching to cushioned shoes which provide arch support will send your feet to foot heaven! Opt for low-heeled sandals and also avoid tying shoelaces too tightly. These will work up a great benefit for your sore feet.
13. Ginger Essential Oil:
That’s something new! This oil contains the benefits of ginger without that sting. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Make massage oil by adding ginger essential oil to any carrier oil and give your feet a massage. Ginger will improve circulation and also ease cramping caused by swollen feet.
14. Citrus Paradise:
This essential oil of grapefruit is another surprise package. Make simple massage oil by mixing grapefruit oil with any carrier oil and give your sore feet a rub down. This essential oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. For best results, leave it on overnight.
15. Chill The Swelling Away:
Tried and trusted, our ever-faithful ice pack, can help here too. Use a commercial ice pack on your swollen feet or you can even make one at home. Take small ice cubes or crushed ice in a wet towel or washcloth and apply it all over your swollen, stiff feet. This is also one of the effective home remedies for swollen feet.that works most of the time.
16. Banish The C-A-C:
Okay, I just made up that code! It simply stands for Cigarettes, Alcohol and Caffeine. These three addictive elements are best removed from your lifestyle. It really helps in reducing foot oedema, if nothing else. These three create water retention in the body. Whenever fluids build up, they mostly travel to the feet. It is a good reason to think about quitting.
17. Cabbage Leaves:
For this peculiar remedy, take cabbage leaves (white or green), wipe them clean, but do not wash them. You may like it more if the leaves have been cooled in the fridge (but not frozen). Place them on your swollen feet or tie them there with a loose bandage. Cabbage has great water absorption qualities and will draw out excess fluid in the feet within 30 minutes.
18. Dandelion Tea:
This pretty sounding herb has pretty good effects on swollen feet! Make a dandelion tea by adding the herb to boiling water and allowing it to steep for a while. Have 1-2 cups per day till you find relief from foot oedema. Dandelion has water expulsive properties and is also rich in antioxidants.
19. Cool It With Cucumber:
The very name is soothing, isn’t it? Apply slices of cucumber to your feet and cover them with a loose bandage. Cucumber has amazing soothing properties that will reduce oedema and stiffness, and make your feet feel immensely relieved. You can also extract the juice of cucumber and add it to water to get similar results.
20. Viva Vitamin:
Ensure that you take extra amounts of foods rich in Vitamin E – the beauty vitamin. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, pistachios, sweet potatoes are replete with this vitamin. It is useful in alleviating swelling and stiffness of the feet.
Most or all of these remedies might work for you. However, treating yourself with these home remedies isn’t enough. You swollen feet need rest more than anything else. Don’t overstrain your feet by abusing them all day long. Before long, you might become a victim to painful cramps and the oedema might even spread to the legs and knees.
You might even look into some alternative therapies like acupressure, acupuncture and homoeopathy if you find that these simple swollen feet remedies do not produce long-lasting results. However, for most people (including me) these home remedies help put you back on your feet in a jiffy!