Swelling in your feet and ankle joints is called edema, as well as there are a lot of things that can trigger the problem, from hypertension to pregnancy. Just what’s happening in your body is having difficulty battling gravitational force to move blood and also fluids back up your legs, so your ankles, feet, or even your legs could begin to swell.
Edema by itself is not dangerous, but it is unpleasant. If you are seeing one foot or leg swelling a whole lot greater than the other, or your face is swelling, you had better call your doctor, since the reason could be a blood clot.
That unpleasant swelling is not actually a disorder, just a symptom, and also the best method to treat the edema is to find out what cause the swelling. If you’re swelling as a result of pregnancy, it should be relieved not long after your baby’s born. Talk to your doctor to see what could be triggering your swelling.
Whatever the reason, check out some of these natural remedies to relief from swelling while you are figuring out the cause of your edema.
1. Try a magnesium supplement
Magnesium deficiency can contribute to edema, and taking a supplement can help give you some relief. Most of the recommendations I’ve seen are for 200mg twice a day, but if you’re pregnant you’ll want to talk to your doctor about that first. The RDA for magnesium is 350mg per day, and your doctor might not want you taking an extra 400mg, since you’re also probably getting magnesium in your prenatal vitamin and your diet.
At six months pregnant, I started taking 250mg of magnesium in the evenings, and the difference in my swelling was dramatic without changing anything else.
2. Do a Little Yoga
Exercise can help improve your circulation, and yoga is a great way to get moving and really focus on that circulatory system. Check out these yoga poses to improve circulation to get you going!
Of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before starting up with yoga, especially if you haven’t been doing it before. If you’re totally new to yoga, I highly recommend taking a class. A yoga instructor can not only help you overcome any hesitations you have about yoga, but she or he will make sure you are doing the poses properly and might even be able to suggest additional postures to help with your edema! Once you have a swing of how the poses feel, you can practice at home.
3. Soak in Tonic Water
This one might sound a little odd, but soaking in room temperature – or cold, if it’s not too uncomfortable – tonic water can help with swelling. The quinine and the bubbles can help reduce inflammation, and frankly just soaking your poor, swollen feet feels great!
4. Grab Some Lavender Essential Oil
A warm bath can also help with swelling, and you can give that water a boost with a few drops of lavender essential oil! You can also just fill a bucket with nice, warm water to soak in.
If baths aren’t your thing, you can also mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil like olive or sweet almond oil and give yourself a little foot and leg massage. As you rub your feet, ankles, and calves, focus your pressure upward, rather than downward or in a circular motion.
5. Do a Salt Water Soak
Adding a healthy dose of Epsom salts to the tub is another way to boost that bath. Like the lavender oil, you can also just use a bucket, if you’re only having swelling in your feet and ankles. If your calves are swollen, too, a bath is probably your best bet.
6. Massage the painful area. Or even better, make someone else do it for you.
Massaging your feet is extremely relaxing and improves your blood circulation. Use gentle but firm motions, and always go in the direction of the heart.
7. Drink plenty of water.
We are all guilty of often not drinking enough fluids. By drinking water throughout the day, we hydrate our tissues and detox the body. Sodium and caffeine, which contribute to feet inflammation, get diluted if we water ourselves sufficiently. Eight to ten glasses a day should be the norm. Drink more if you had some alcohol. So make sure you carry that water bottle with you. For added antioxidant value, squeeze some lime or lemon in or prepare your own flavored water.
8. Eat healthy and avoid excess salt.
A bit of salt is good for you, and is in fact needed for the body to function well. But too much salt can cause water retention and should be avoided. Caffeine too is a known culprit. So go easy on the salt and try to bring your coffee intake to a minimum. If you are overweight, consider losing some weight, so you reduce the pressure that is put on your muscles, joints and bones.
9. When you travel, consider wearing compression socks.
I know that they can be difficult to put on, but they do serve their purpose. They help the blood vessels with their elasticity, so that the blood doesn’t pool in your legs. Plus, they prevent varicose veins. Consider wearing them on long-haul flights and on long bus and train journeys. Also, support/compression socks or stockings can be good for you if you’re already suffering from leg inflammation.
10 Elevate your legs.
If you’re not quite ready for the headstand yet, try elevating your legs by putting them on a higher surface so that they are above the heart. Do that for 30 minutes, three times a day, and observe the difference. When you’re in bed, put a pillow under your ankles. This will help drain the excess fluid, so it can then get absorbed in the body, or is eliminated with urine.