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Swollen tired aching feet. Your shoes don’t fit, and the tops of your socks leave indentations around your ankles. Nothing fun about that or at all. Many things can cause swollen and or swelling in the feet. Luckily, it is quite possible to treat your swollen feet at home.
Many healthy people find that simple things – riding on an airplane, missing a night of sleep, or eating a salty meal – cause swelling of the feet, known as Edema. Here are some tips for treating these fluid-filled extremities.
Wear comfortable shoes to prevent or mitigate swollen feet. Sometimes swelling is a sign that you are doing something painful to your feet, especially while you walk or stand. This could include wearing ill-fitted shoes or high heels. In my experience, shoes that have poor ankle support can cause foot swelling.
Use contrast baths for swelling. One great way to get circulation going is to subject them alternately to hot and cold temperatures. This is best done by soaking your feet for 20 minutes in comfortably hot water. (Of course, check the temperature before putting your feet into the water. If it is too hot, let it cool a bit first. You do not want to scald the skin on your feet. )
Once your feet have soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, remove your feet for 20 minutes; it’s best to prop them up on a towel on a chair or footstool. Then, put your feet in comfortably cold water for 20 minutes. The same temperature rule applies to cold water, as we do not want frost-bitten toes, either. After 20 minutes of cold water, remove your feet and prop them up on the towel for another 20 minutes. Finish the treatment for swelling with another hot water soak for 20 minutes, and then dry your feet.
Massage swollen feet. This is best performed by a friend, partner, or professional, as it is difficult to get a good flow of blood going when your knee is bent. A retrograde massage is performed by rubbing from the toes proximally, or toward the knee. This encourages the fluid that has accumulated in the feet, causing the swelling, to return toward the kidneys, where it can be filtered out of the body.
Salty foods can make you retain water and may increase the swelling in the feet. Many processed foods, such as frozen dinner entrees and canned soup, are extremely high in Sodium. Sodium also increases blood pressure, which is why you should discuss dietary changes with your health care professional. Make sure you stay hydrated, because the more water you put into your body, the less water your body will try to store in your feet; drinking more water makes it easier for your body to flush out accumulated water.
Apply herbs for topical treatment of swelling. One mixture that is thought to treat swelling is lemon juice, milk, cinnamon, olive oil, and water. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and apply to the area that is swollen for about 20 minutes. You can also soak your feet in a solution of baking powder and rice water; add a little plain water if required. Another popular swelling treatment is a soak in peppermint essential oil, lemon, eucalyptus, and water.
Tea tree oil may also be applied to help stimulate circulation and get the swelling out of those feet. Apply tea tree oil before bedtime, since lying flat is a good way to encourage blood to flow back toward the core of the body.
Use the calf-pump muscles to decrease swelling. One of the ways your body naturally gets blood from the feet, against gravity, up toward the heart again is the calf muscles in the leg, including the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles—the muscles used to flex and extend your ankle. To use this for your own feet swelling, do an exercise my ballet teacher used to call “short toes; long toes.” Rest comfortably with your legs out straight—on the bed, sofa, or floor— and gradually point your toes forward (the motion you’d use while standing on tip-toes). Hold for a few seconds, and then point your toes toward the ceiling (or toward your head, if you are flexible). Hold for a few seconds again, and repeat. When you move your feet this way, the muscles squeeze the veins of the leg in a pumping motion that helps the blood return against gravity, back to the heart.
For more information on Edema and other Inflammatory Conditions see our Knowledge Base Health Condition articles;
Caution. A common cause of swollen feet is pregnancy. The weight gain and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy make this a common time for the feet to swell – but swollen feet are also one of the early signs of pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition. If you are pregnant, discuss foot swelling with your primary care physician so you can be checked for other symptoms of pre-eclampsia, and be sure to talk about any treatments for swelling that you use or plan to use, to make sure there will be no negative effects on the baby.
The information on this site it intended for general inquiry and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you, or those under your care, are ill or in need of health care, please seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a doctor or other competent licensed clinical for specific advice about medical treatments for yourself or those under your care. Any use of, or reliance in any way upon, the information contained in the AlternativZ site and/or accessed through this site is solely at your own risk.
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