6 Ways to treat swollen painful feet and ankles

Has there ever been a time in your life when you looked down and noticed that your feet and ankles didn’t even seem like they belonged in your body because they were so swollen? There are lots of reasons that can lead to something like this – you are standing for long periods of time, you had surgery, you had some accident, or you are pregnant and your feet are supporting much more weight than they usually do.

And even though we tend to not pay much attention to them, the truth is our feet support our whole body and are our way of moving around, so you should pay attention to them and take good care of your feet.

Swelling feet and ankles are a consequence of fluid retention in the lower parts of your body (lower legs, ankles, and feet), and even though this isn’t an emergency, it is uncomfortable and can restrain your movements. So, how to relieve swollen feet and ankles? We give you six alternatives.


#1 – Use compression socks

This is an item you can buy at your local drug store or shoe store, as compression socks will be one of your best allies, providing pain relief and making sure that there is no fluid collection in your legs or feet.

When picking up your compression socks for swollen feet and ankles, be sure to purchase a size that won’t be too loose (Because it defeats its purpose) but that is not too tight either, because this can be dangerous to blood circulation. Put them on as soon as you wake up and try to wear them for as long as you can.

#2 – Elevate your legs

In order to reduce swelling, you can try lying in bed while keeping your legs elevated. Ideally, you should lie on your back and keep the upper part of your body flat as you elevate your legs a little bit above your heart level.

If you are flexible, you can try to do some research on yoga positions that might help with this issue, like lying on the floor while your legs are raising and pressing against the wall.

#3 – Do some exercise

Sitting for too long or standing for too long can be what causes joint pain in your feet, resulting in the swelling of that part of your body. If you have no way to avoid this at work, try to do some exercise after work, something that makes you move your knees and/or flex your ankles – this will provide you pain relief and a decrease in swelling in the long run.

Swimming is also a nice alternative on how to relieve joint pain in feet because it’s an activity that barely bares any weight and can also do wonders for your skin and strengthen your muscles, so you will be killing three birds with one stone.

#4 – Try to lose weight

Red swollen feet and ankles are pretty common in pregnant women since their bodies are now heavier and it’s up to the lower part of their body to support the upper part.

But if you are not pregnant, your weight is above the healthy line, and you are experiencing this discomfort, then maybe it’s time to start a diet. This will not only improve your swelling and your pain, but it will also benefit your health in general.

#5 – Use Epsom salt

This is one of the most effective “recipes” of how to relieve pain in feet. All you need to do is fill a bath with cold water and some Epsom salt, and soak your feet in there (the water should be up to your ankles) for 15 to 20 minutes.

This should be enough to relieve the pain, and it’s often used to alleviate the symptoms of foot and ankle injuries. Be careful if you suffer from diabetes and check the water with your hands first, as diabetic people should not expose their feet to extreme temperatures.

#6 – Take a magnesium supplement

Adding 200 to 400 mg of magnesium to your diet, on a daily basis, can do wonders for your water retention problems, and as a consequence reduce the swollen and make you feel less pain.

But check with your doctor first since these supplements are not appropriate for everyone, especially people who suffer from heart or kidney conditions.

For this to be more effective, it’s recommended that you do at least two of the things on this list daily. There are also some small changes you can apply to your daily life, like taking a short walk inside the office every hour, just to stretch your legs, keep yourself hydrated, since not drinking enough water increases the possibility of swelling and avoid eating things with lots of salt or carbohydrates.

You can also do some research on the best shoes for swollen ankles and feet, purchase an air leg massager or some pain-relieving cream made especially for feet.

If these suggestions don’t seem to be helping and you develop other symptoms, like leg blisters or even ulcerations, this means it is time to find yourself a physician.

And remember that this usually happens on both feet, so if you are experiencing this only in one foot, go look for a doctor as soon as possible, because this can be a serious symptom that you are at risk for a deep vein thrombosis.


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