Natural Relief for Swollen Ankles
If you have swollen ankles and feet, it can be a sign of some serious health problems like kidney disorders, heart issues or edema in legs. That is why you may consider consulting a health care specialist who can help define the causes of swollen feet. Only a doctor can advise the most appropriate swollen ankle treatment in each individual case. But, before seeking medical assistance, you may try reducing the symptoms of swelling in feet by means of some home remedies.
What causes swollen ankles and feet?
According to the Mayo Clinic staff, many factors may cause the swelling of ankles and feet. The most common causes are:
- Edema – when the feet swelling may occur because of long-term standing or walking (the time period may vary individually);
- Trauma – a sprained ankle may get swollen;
- Pregnancy – swollen ankles is a widespread symptom in pregnant women;
- Infections like cellulite and abscess;
- Diseases of the liver, kidneys, and heart – because the disorders of these organs may affect fluid mobilization;
- Blood clots – when venous vessels are blocked and fluid from them leaks into the tissues;
- Lymphedema – when leg swelling may occur because of lymph fluid blockage;
- Side effects of drugs – the long-term use of certain medications can cause fluid retention and ankles swelling. The drugs that may trigger such side effects are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diabetes medications, antidepressants, and some groups of calcium channel blockers like anti-hypertensive agents and cardiac pills.
All these factors may trigger bilateral swelling (of both ankles or feet) that commonly starts as puffy, soft skin enlargement in the feet and quickly spreads to the calves.
What are the symptoms of swollen ankles?
WebMD defines few common symptoms of swollen calves, ankles, and feet. They may vary in each individual case:
- If you press the puffy skin with a finger, the indentations may appear. Then the skin slowly returns to its swollen state;
- The indentations in swollen ankles and legs may become noticeable when shoes and socks are removed;
- The skin color of the swollen ankles may be slightly pale, while the indentations are slightly darker.
Sometimes ankle swelling may become a chronic disorder. For example, people who suffer from chronic congestive heart failure may experience chronic bilateral swelling of calves and feet with reddish and puffy skin.
Important notice! If you have the single swollen left foot or right ankle, it can be a sign of a potentially deadly disorder – deep vein thrombosis – that may cause the swelling of only one leg. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Home remedies for swollen feet
In most cases, the causes of swollen ankles are not serious and can be eliminated with home treatment. You may try using the following natural remedies for swollen feet:
Elevating swollen legs
Sometimes this method alone can be enough to reduce swelling in your feet. For a few minutes, try lying on the floor or bed with raised legs pressed against the wall.
Compression socks, which can be bought at any local pharmacy, may be helpful in preventing fluid collection in the ankles, feet, and legs. They are available in a few weights; try choosing a pair that is not too tight. You may start by wearing the most lightweight compression socks – 12-20 mm Hg.
If you keep on sitting or standing in one pose for a long time, this may only worsen the swelling. Instead, try moving your knees frequently, flexing or extending your legs. Alternatively, you may try swimming, which is a low impact exercise that can soothe the puffy skin.
For this home swollen feet treatment, you need to use two small tubs – one with cold water and one with warm (not hot) water. Try soaking your feet in the warm tub for 4 minutes. Then quickly put the feet in the cold tub for 1 minute. In 20 minutes repeat this sequence, this time starting with the cold tub. Repeat this hydrotherapy at least a few times a day.
A foot massage
Foot swelling can be reduced with a simple foot massage. You may massage your swollen ankles with the following guide:
- Take a bit of mustard oil or olive oil;
- Rub it gently on swollen ankles for 5 minutes each, in an upward and then downward direction;
- Repeat few times a day;
- The massage may be more effective if you do it after taking a warm bath.
Sometimes all you need to do to reduce the swelling of any body part is to take an ice bath or use ice cubes for a massage. Try following this method:
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth;
- Apply on the swollen ankle;
- Leave it for 15 minutes.
Consider adding 200-400mg of magnesium to you daily diet. This can be consumed with the help of supplements or foods high in magnesium. Magnesium may reduce water retention and lessen the pain. Magnesium-rich foods are nuts, seeds, fish, dark leafy greens, avocado, soybeans, dark chocolate, bananas, and nuts.
Epsom salts can be very effective for swelling reduction. Consider putting your swollen feet in the tub with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salts.
Ginger tea or slices
Ginger can be helpful as a natural diuretic that may dilute sodium from the swollen feet. Consider massaging your swollen ankles and feet with ginger oil several times a day. Alternatively, you may chew a few raw ginger slices or drink 3 cups of herbal ginger tea.
Wrap with cabbage leaves
Cabbage can be helpful for ankle swelling because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Many pregnant women with swollen legs recommend a cabbage leaf wrap for rapid swelling reduction.
- Take cabbage leaves, wash them and put in a freezer for 5 minutes;
- Put the cold cabbage leaf on the swollen ankle;
- Wrap it with a thin cloth or tape;
- Raise the wrapped leg;
- Leave it for 30 minutes;
- Repeat the procedure 2-3 times throughout the day.
How can you prevent swollen legs and feet?
A few minor changes in your daily routine may reduce or prevent the swollen ankles:
- Consider losing weight;
- Try walking every 2-3 hours;
- Try drinking no less than 10 glasses of water per day;
- Consider limiting the intake of salty foods;
- Try wearing wider shoes;
- Try sleeping with your legs elevated.
Ankle swelling can worsen with the symptoms like ulcerations and blisters. Consider consulting a health care specialist if you notice these symptoms or if the swelling lasts more than a few weeks.