Learn about the causes and natural remedies for swollen feet and ankles and how we can deal with them naturally.
Painless swelling of the feet and ankles is a common problem, particularly among older people. The abnormal accumulation of fluid in the ankles, feet, and legs is called edema.
The presence of swollen ankles can affect both legs and can include the calves or even the thighs. Due to the effect of gravity, the swelling is particularly noticeable in the lower part of the body.
Causes of swollen ankles
Swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs is common in the following situations:
- Be overweight .
- Blood clot in the leg.
- Advanced age.
- Leg infection.
- Veins in the legs that cannot properly pump blood back to the heart.
An injury or surgery involving the leg, ankle, or foot can cause swelling. Swelling in the ankle or any other part of the legs can also occur after pelvic surgery, especially for cancer.
Long plane or car trips, as well as prolonged standing, often lead to some swelling in the feet and ankles.
Bloating can occur in women taking estrogen or during parts of the menstrual cycle. Most women have some swelling during pregnancy. More severe swelling during this period may be a sign of pre-eclampsia (also called toxemia), a serious condition that includes high blood pressure and inflammation.
The leg swelling can be a sign of heart failure, kidney failure or liver failure. In these conditions, there is too much fluid in the body.
Medications and swollen legs
Certain medications can also cause the legs and ankles to swell:
- Antidepressants, including MAO inhibitors (such as phenelzine and tranylcypromine) and tricyclics (such as nortriptyline, desipramine, and amitriptyline).
- Medicines for blood pressure called channel blockers calcium (such as nifedipine, amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, and verapamil).
- Hormones such as estrogen (in birth control pills and hormone therapy) and testosterone.
Whatever the reason, these remedies can help give you some relief from the problem while you resolve the root cause of your edema:
Natural remedies for swollen ankles
A hot bath can also help with ankle swelling, and you can give that water a boost with a few drops of grapefruit essential oil. You can also simply fill a bucket with nice warm, lukewarm water for soaking.
If baths are not your thing, you can also mix a few drops of grapefruit oil with a carrier oil such as olive or sweet almond oil and give your feet and legs a little massage. As you rub your feet, ankles, and calves, focus your pressure upward rather than downward or in a circular fashion.
Do a salt water soak
Adding a healthy dose of Epsom salts to your bathtub is another way to add to that bath. Like grapefruit oil, you can also use a bucket / tub if you are just having swelling in your feet and ankles. If your calves are swollen too, a bath is probably your best bet. The Epsom salts are a great help to reverse the swelling of the ankles.
Enjoy a good massage
A massage therapist can do wonders for swollen feet and ankles. Don’t be shy or shy about bringing up the problem when you get to your appointment so that he or she can focus on getting the massage to work on your lower extremities.
If you are pregnant, find a therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. A prenatal massage therapist will have much more knowledge about how to make you feel comfortable.
Get support stockings
Support stockings or compression garments can prevent swelling, especially from standing. You can find compression stockings that come up to the knee or thigh or long or full compression stockings.
There are many good experiences with compression stockings, however you may start off feeling amazing, but after a few hours you may feel some cramping. For this, there are compression stockings without feet, so if you experience the same problem, these could be a good solution for you.
Elevate swollen feet
Gravity is no friend when it comes to edema, so elevate your feet whenever you can. When you relax in the afternoon, hold your legs up with some pillows. Ideally, your feet are above your heart.
If you work in the office, try to find a way to put your feet under your desk. Even lifting a little can make a big difference to your bloating as the day progresses.
Do exercises like swimming
Swimming or even floating in the water can help with swelling of the feet and ankles. The pressure of the water can help get things moving in your legs, and floating gives your circulatory system a break from the constant pull of gravity. If you don’t have a pool, check out your local gyms to see what they have to offer.
Excess salt is a big contributor to bloating, and increasing your fluid intake can help dilute the salt in your system. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to cleanse your system. Even better. Try making cucumber lemon water. You just have to put a couple of slices of cucumber and lemon in the glass and enjoy. Both of these fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, so these give the water an extra swelling-fighting kick.
Other factors to consider to deflate the ankles
- Try a magnesium supplement. Magnesium deficiency can contribute to edema, and taking a supplement can help give you some relief.
- Doing some yoga is a good way to get moving and helps your circulatory system.
- Exercises the legs, this helps pump fluids from the legs back to the heart.
- Lose weight if you need to
- Change eating habits by choosing one that is really healthy.
- Exercising can help improve circulation.
- When traveling, take frequent breaks to stand up and move around.
When to contact a medical professional
- You feel short of breath.
- You have chest pain, especially if it feels like pressure or stiffness.
- You have heart or kidney disease and the swelling gets worse.
- You have a history of liver disease and now have swelling in your legs or abdomen.
- The swollen foot or leg is red or hot to the touch.
- You have a fever.
- You are pregnant and have more than mild swelling or have a sudden increase in swelling.