Painful, swollen feet can happen for lots of reasons, from being on them too long to certain medical issues like diabetes. Pregnancy is also a notorious cause of swollen feet that creeps up the leg and completely obscures the ankles. More dangerous causes include lymphedema, in which the function of the lymph nodes is impaired, and a blood clot in the legs. Whatever the cause, swelling is almost always associated with fluid accumulation in the tissues, a condition called edema. Here are 7 effective home remedies for swollen feet.
#1 Make Some Dietary Changes
The biggest dietary driver of swelling and water retention is salt. Reducing your intake is healthy for lots of reasons, including suffering less from swollen feet. Sodium and potassium work together to regulate fluid balance, so a deficiency of potassium can also cause water retention. A magnesium deficiency may also cause your body to retain water, so adding more foods like almonds, spinach, dark chocolate, and broccoli can help you get enough.
#2 Drink More Water
Because swelling in the feet usually involves water, it seems strange that drinking even more water will reduce the swelling. But it does! When you are dehydrated, it causes the body to hang on to as much water as it can. Drinking more lets the body know that the risk posed by dehydration has passed. In response, it will start to flush out extra fluid, thereby reducing inflammation.
#3 Wear Compression Socks
Again, it may seem strange that putting pressure on the swollen area would allow for greater circulation, but that’s what it does. Wearing compression socks helps your blood vessels work better because the arteries that serve to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout the body relax. Blood flows more freely in the compressed area, in this case the feet, and your veins get support to push blood back toward your heart.
#4 Take A Walk
Being on your feet for any longer than you have to when they are swollen may not sound pleasant. But swelling is often the result of standing in one area for extended periods of time, and walking can help to dissipate excess fluid and get your blood flowing freely again. If you aren’t able to walk, taking some time to flex your ankles and massage your feet can have the same effect.
#5 Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a high level of potassium, so drinking 2-4 tablespoons per day helps to achieve the right sodium-potassium balance. If you can stomach it, it’s okay to take it straight. Perhaps a bit easier to manage is a diluted beverage with water and a little bit of honey along with the vinegar.
#6 Soak With Epsom Salt
Soaking sore and swollen feet in a cool water bath with Epsom salt is great for reducing muscle pain as well as reducing swelling and inflammation. The salt, technically known as magnesium sulfate, is thought to draw out toxins and promote relaxation. Since there are many types on the market, make sure to get Epsom salt that is marked with a USP seal, which means it has been approved safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
#7 Put Your Feet Up
That old expression describing rest as “putting your feet up” has roots in a position that actually helps to reduce foot pain. It is helpful to sleep with your feet elevated above the level of your heart, but you can also reduce swelling by sitting in this position for 20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day. Raising any swollen area above the level of your heart helps because it allows fluid to drain away from the area.