Having swollen ankles and feet is a common problem to most people. The condition is however, considered a symptom caused by an underlying disease rather than a disease. Fluid accumulation within the tissues is the primary cause of the condition. This in turn causes the feet and ankles to swell. The swelling is also known as edema. The edema becomes bigger, causing discomfort and difficulty in either standing or walking. I was once a victim of this condition while on holiday in Melbourne a couple of months ago. I could hardly go out and tour the city but with a few tips about natural remedies for swollen feet and ankles, i managed to solve the problem and was back on my feet once again. I therefore prepared a list of natural remedies to help people that might face a similar predicament to mine. First of all, we need to know the causes and symptoms of the condition.
Causes of Swollen Feet and Ankles
- Lack of physical exercise
- Poor blood circulation
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Blood clotting in the legs
- Allergic reactions
- Sodium retention
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Overusing drugs, diuretics and laxatives
- Surgery or injury involving the foot and ankle
- Eating a lot of carbohydrates and salt
- Prescription medications such as anti-depressants, high blood pressure drugs and birth control pills
Symptoms of Swollen Feet and Ankles
- High blood pressure
- Puffy eyes
- Increased urination
- Increased weight
If the painful swelling occurs more often, you need to consult a physician. This is because the swelling might be a sign of liver, kidney or heart problems as well as deep venous thrombosis which require lengthy and more proper treatment regimes.
The natural remedies are as follows.
1. Contrast hydrotherapy
This effective remedy for reducing the swelling involves using both temperatures of water. The warm water improves the body’s circulation while the cold water decreases inflammation and swelling.
- Fill 2 basins, one with warm water and the other one with cold water
- Soak your feet in the warm water for a 3-4 minute period then immediately put them into the cold water
- Leave the feet in the cold water for a minute
- Alternate your feet like this for 15-20 minutes
- Repeat this daily a few times until you recover
2. Soaking feet in Epsom salt
Epsom salt is known to work great magic on swollen feet and ankles. The salt is also used to treat infected and injured feet. Epsom has great health benefits and is also quite cheap. The salt contains Magnesium Sulfate which is responsible for improving blood circulation and thereby reducing the swelling. An added advantage is that the salt will keep your feet smelling good for longer.
- Dissolve a few cups of Epsom salt in a bucket of water
- Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes
Exercise reduces the pooling of blood in your lower extremities by increasing blood circulation. A good example which i used back then was swimming. This type of exercise lessens the impact on your feet thus relieving the discomfort. Another brilliant idea is Yoga. If you are using Yoga, go for those poses that require you to lift the feet above your head. These are commonly referred to as inversion poses. The poses have other added health benefits such as improved digestion and immunity. Some good examples of the poses include:
Be sure to incorporate physical activities regularly in your daily lives. They are the simplest way to keep your body healthy and prevent future disease occurrences.
4. Using baking powder and rice water
Baking soda posses a wide variety of health benefits including its anti-inflammatory property. Together with rice water, baking soda remarkably absorbs the excess water accumulated in the feet. This will cause a better circulation of blood in the affected region.
- Boil some rice and take out 2 teaspoons of the starchy water before the rice is ready
- Mix it with 2 teaspoons of baking soda to make a paste
- Apply the paste on your feet
- Aftter 10-15 minutes, rinse the feet with water (this will moisturize and keep your feet soft)
Another procedure involves soaking your feet in the solution paste. This however, will need quite large quantities of the paste.
5. Using Coriander seeds
Coriander is a good example of a diuretic ingredient. This ingredient easily helps the body to remove excess fluid that accumulates in the swollen feet and ankles. This will reduce the size of the edema and offer you relief.
- Take 3 tablespoons of coriander seeds and add them to a cup of water
- Boil the seeds in the water until only half of its original volume remains
- Strain the resultant infusion
- Drink this twice daily
- Alternatively, soak the seeds for sometime in warm water then grind to form a paste
- Apply the paste on affected regions
6. Elevating your legs
When you have swollen feet and ankles, you need to keep your legs elevated while you lay down. You can use something like a foot pillow to do this. Just make sure the feet are either above or at the level of your heart. This practice reduces the amount of blood flowing down to your legs and as a result prevents the edema from getting bigger. Raising the legs also prevents fluid retention.
- Place a pillow beneath your feet as you lie down to relax or sleep (You can do this 3 times a day for 20-30 minutes)
- Place the feet over a raised platform for example a stool whenever you sit down for a longer period of time
7. Using magnesium
Magnesium as a mineral is used by the body to help in preventing several cases of swelling. Cases of chronic edema and or swollen feet and ankles are mostly due to magnesium inadequacy in the body. The recommended daily uptake of magnesium for adults to help deal with swollen feet and ankles is 350 mg. This can be obtained by eating foods that are rich in magnesium for example:
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
You can also add a magnesium supplement to the diet to help deal with the swelling. This however, can react with other medications thereby worsening the condition. Futhermore, there is an increased risk of complications when you have kidney or heart diseases and you use these supplements. You therefore need to consult your doctor first in order to get a supplement that is compatible with your body.
This remedy is an effective way of dealing with swollen ankles and feet because the pressure applied moves the fluid from your feet to the kidneys. The kidney then expels the fluid out of the body in addition to other excess fluids.
- Apply mustard oil on the ankles and feet (mustard oil has anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce the swelling)
- Massage the regions, work on the swellings as you move upwards
- Keep on doing this for a period of 5-10 minutes
- Gently move the fluid up. Careful not to use a lot of pressure
- Repeat the entire procedure at least twice a day
9. Using compression socks
Compression socks help to deal with cases of swollen feet and ankles by reducing the amount of excess fluid, preventing excess room and creation of enough pressure. The socks can be difficult to wear but you simply cannot doubt the purpose served. The socks also prevent cases of varicose veins as well as improving your blood vessels’ elasticity. This prevents blood pooling in your legs. Compression socks are available in all sorts of colors, styles, price ranges, pressures and sizes so you need to be careful when buying one.
10. Adequate hydration
Adequate hydration simply refers to drinking enough glasses of water per day (8 to 10). When you don’t drink adequate water, the body attempts to avoid dehydration by retaining some water. The water retention causes the swelling. Drinking enough water a day will not only prevent this retention but also dilute caffeine and sodium which are the main contributors of inflammation. Another benefit of drinking enough water is flushing toxins out of the body. You can add some slices of lemon (have anti-inflammatory properties) to your water to maximise its effect on the swollen ankles and feet.
11. Drinking parsley tea
Parsley is a herb that is scientifically proven to aid in treating swollen feet and ankles as well as fluid retention. The herb posses a diuretic property that helps the body to get rid of excess fluids in form of urine and also prevents recurrences.
- Steep either fresh or dried parsley leaves in a litre of boiling water
- After 15 minutes, strain the resultant liquid and drink it frequently throughout the day
- Alternatively, you can crush the leaves and add a little water to form paste
- Apply the paste on the swelling twice a day
12. Using ginger
Ginger is also another natural diuretic used to treat swollen feet and ankles. Ginger actually aids in diluting sodium, a key contributor of inflammation as well as reducing the swelling.
- Daily use ginger oil to rub your swollen ankles and feet
- Alternatively, you can chew raw ginger or take cups of ginger tea as i do
13. Using dandelion
Dandelion also has diuretic qualities that increase the rate of excess fluid metabolism. This reduces the swelling of the ankles and feet. Dandelion also helps the body to regulate the amount of sodium.
- Add 1 teaspoon of either dried or fresh dandelion leaves to a cup of hot water
- Drink the mixture 2-3 times daily
14. Using apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains potassium in high proportions. This mineral plays a major role in reducing water retention which is a primary cause of swollen feet and ankles.
- Mix unfiltered and raw apple cider vinegar with warm water in equal proportions
- Deep a towel into the mixture and compress the towel to remove the excess liquid
- Wrap the towel around the swollen area
- Remove the towel after 10 minutes
- Repeat the process daily a number of times
- Alternatively, add some honey to the apple cider vinegar and drink the mixture twice a day
15. Using cucumber
Cucumber not only helps to absorb the excess fluid but also decreases the overall recovery time. Apart from treating swollen feet and ankles, cucumber is also used to reduce face and under eye bags’ swellings.
- Slice a cucumber and place the piece on the affected region
- Wrap the slice using either a bandage or cotton cloth
16. Drinking lemon water
The lemon water aids in flushing toxins and excess fluids out of the body. Lemon water therefore helps to reduce the swelling of foot and ankles that is caused by water retention in the body. The water also has anti-inflammatory properties and hydrates the body as well.
- Use a cup to mix 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with warm water
- Sweeten the mixture by adding raw honey
- Drink the resultant mixture a few times daily
17. Using cold compresses
Cold compresses help a lot to reduce the inflammation in the swollen feet and ankles.
- Place the compressor on the affected feet for 10-15 minutes
- Alternatively, you can keep your feet in a running stream of cold water for a similar time frame
18. Use of diet
Diet is a key treatment plan for most medical conditions including swollen feet and ankles. For this particular condition, we use a diet that helps to eliminate wastes and excess fluids from the body but not those that promote retention as follows.
- Reducing salt consumption
- Avoiding sugar and sugary foods
- Reducing starch loaded foods for example pizzas and bread
- Eating a lot of vegetables and fruits
- Eating foods rich in potassium for example mushrooms, pork, bananas, parsley, chicken, avocado and raw spinach.
These natural remedies are quite simple to use. Some other noticeable options include putting on well fitting shoes and less tight clothing. This will help not to restrict the blood flow. Many conditions and factors as earlier seen can easily predispose us to swollen feet and ankles. Fortunately, we do not require an appointment with the doctor to help us deal with the condition. These remedies are guaranteed to do just that. If you tried and enjoyed the effectiveness of any of the remedies, do well to share the list and do not forget to leave your comments below.