How to Ease Swollen Feet

Swelling in your feet and ankles is called edema caused by your body having trouble fighting gravity, moving blood and fluids back up your legs, so your ankles and feet begin to swell.  Whatever the reason, these solutions can help give some relief while you sort out the cause of your edema:

Magnesium:  Magnesium deficiency can contribute to edema, and taking a supplement may give some relief.

Elevate your legs:  Elevate your legs by putting them on a higher surface so that they are above the heart for 30 minutes, three times a day. When you’re in bed, put a pillow under your ankles. This will help drain the excess fluid, so it can be absorbed in the body or eliminated with urine.

Avoid excess salt:  A bit of salt is good for you, and is needed for the body to function well. But too much salt can cause water retention and should be avoided.

Soak feet in tonic water:  Soaking your feet in room temperature or cold tonic water can help with swelling. The quinine and the bubbles can help reduce inflammation.

Grapefruit essential oil  foot massage:  Mix a few drops of grapefruit oil with a carrier oil like olive or sweet almond oil and give yourself a foot and leg massage. As you rub your feet, ankles, and calves, focus your pressure upward, rather than downward or in a circular motion.

Diuretic teas:  Diuretics increase the amount of urine you produce.  Drink 4 cups each day.  Try some of these teas:

  • Dandelion leaf
  • Chamomile
  • Chicory (good substitute for coffee)
  • Fennel (make your own by adding 1 tsp of fennel seeds or leaves to a cup of water)
  • Stinging nettle

 Lymphatic brushing:  Dry skin brushing or lymphatic brushing comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine and is done with a soft bristled brush with a long handle (or a fluffy cotton towel) once or twice a day.

  •  Your skin and brush (or towel) should be completely dry before starting.
  • All of your brush strokes should be long sweeping strokes in the direction of your heart.
  • Brush:
    • from your hands up your arms and towards your shoulders
    • up your back, from the base of your spine towards your shoulders
    • down your neck, from your hairline towards your shoulders
    • up your chest, towards your throat
    • from your belly button to the center of your chest
    • up and around the breasts into the underarm area
    • up the legs, beginning with your feet
    • from your ankle to your knee, front and back, on both sides
    • from the knee to the groin, front and back, on both sides
    • from your groin to your belly button
  • Follow it with a warm bath or shower with a cool rinse at the end.

Enjoy cucumber-lemon water:  Excess salt is a big contributor to swelling, and upping your fluid intake can help dilute the salt in your system. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water per day to flush things out.   Cucumber and lemon have anti-inflammatory properties, so a couple of slices of each will give your water extra oomph!

A water massage:  A water massage stimulates lymphatic flow, lessens edema by contracting and dilating the lymphatic vessels and valves, pushing fluid towards your heart and away from extremities.

  • Begin by showering your feet with cold water. Saturate one foot, then the other, then moves the spray of water from your feet up your legs towards your heart on each side.
  • Then spray each hand with the cold water. After your hands are saturated, move the cold water from one hand up your arm towards your heart, then move to the other hand and move up the other arm.
  • Switch the water to hot.
  • Repeat the process of saturating both feet, then moving up the legs, then saturating both hands and moving up the arms, with the hot water this time.
  • Switch the water back to cold and repeat the cold water process once more to finish the procedure.