How to Treat Swollen and Tired Feet in Summer

This week’s article was born in anticipation of having some seriously swollen and sore feet in a couple of week’s time when we have our International Salsa Festival here in Cape Town. Since I went to a Salsa Festival in Germany last year, I already know what will be in store for my poor feet… so I decided to do some research on home remedies that will bring relief to swollen, tired feet.

Let first have a look at the biology after this swollen feet thing…
Our blood is a mix of blood cells and the liquid they float in. If it is too thick or too thin, our blood will not be able to do its job properly. So many complex hormonal processes keep just the right amount of fluid in your body and your blood vessels help with this process by pushing excess water into nearby areas until your kidneys can sort things out. Gravity then brings the fluid downward – and we inevitably end up with swollen ankles & feet 🙁

In the summer time we are all more prone to swelling and water retention, because the rise in temperature makes our blood vessels expand and relax, which lets more fluid seep into the nearby tissue. Sweating can also leave you dehydrated, which makes swelling in your feet and legs worse, as your tissues retain water in an attempt to counteract the water loss.

Some other common causes are long airplane flights or car rides, as well as standing for long periods of time, high levels of oestrogen because of the birth control pill or pregnancy as well as high blood pressure.

Here are some of the most popular Natural Beauty Remedies that I found for treating Swollen Feet and Ankles:

1. Try a magnesium supplement

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to water retention, so taking a supplement can help give you some relief. The RDA for magnesium is 350mg per day and it is best taken in the evenings (with your meal).

If you’re pregnant be sure to talk to your doctor first about any additional supplements before adding it to your daily routine

2. Keep Hydrated

Excess salt is a big contributor to swelling, and upping your fluid intake can help dilute the salt in your system. Drinking more water also helps your urinary tract to pull excess fluid from your body. So the best thing you can do for swollen feet and legs this summer is to be sure you’re getting enough pure water. Sip on ice water all day long, especially if you’ll be out in the heat. Or even better? Try making cucumber-lemon water! Just drop a couple of cucumber and lemon slices in your glass, and enjoy! Both of these fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, so if gives that water an extra swelling-fighting punch! Also water is good for your skin as it gives it a glow from within.

3. Get Moving

Exercise can help improve your circulation, and help to pump blood and lymph back towards your heart, potentially staving off water retention and swelling.

One of the ways our bodies naturally get blood from the feet, against gravity, up toward the heart again is the calf muscles in the leg. Here is a simple exercise to try: Rest comfortably with your legs out straight—on the bed, sofa, or floor— and gradually point your toes forward as far as you can. Hold for a few seconds, and then flex your foot toward the ceiling as far as your flexibility allows. Hold for a few seconds again, and repeat. When you move your feet this way, the muscles squeeze the veins of the leg in a pumping motion that helps the blood return against gravity, back to the heart.

 exercise for your feet

Swimming can also help with swollen feet and ankles. The pressure from the water can help get things moving in your legs, and floating will give your circulatory system a break from gravity’s constant pull.

Yoga is another great way to get moving and really focus on that circulatory system.
One of the easier moves to try at home is to work on the articulation of your toes. Try to move each toe separately from the others and practice picking things up with your toes. Or in standing poses, press down into your heels and at the same time press forward with the base of the big and little toes, grounding forward with the ball of the foot, stretching the sole of your foot like a drum.

If you don’t have time to exercise or spend all day by a desk, you can try simple exercise to do while in the office.

4. Relax and Soak
Soaking your feet in room temperature – or slightly colder – tonic water can do wonders for swelling. The quinine and the bubbles can help reduce inflammation, and frankly just soaking your poor, swollen feet feels great!

Another option is to add a healthy dose of Epsom salts to your bath, for a full body soak. Or you can also just use a large bow or tub, and only soak your feet.

foot soak

Or try contrast baths to get your circulation going, by subjecting your feet alternately to hot and cold temperatures. Take your feet out of the water and prop them up on a towel on a chair or footstool for 20min. Then, put your feet in comfortably cold water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of cold water, remove your feet and prop them up on the towel for another 20 minutes. Finish the treatment for swelling with another hot water soak for 20 minutes, and then dry your feet.

Essential oils in your soaking water can also work miracles! Here are 2 recipes to try:
Mixture 1 – lemon juice, milk, cinnamon, olive oil, and water.
Mixture 2 – peppermint  essential oil, lemon, eucalyptus, and water.

5. Treat Yourself to a Massage
Rope in a friend or partner instead of doing it yourself, as it is difficult to get a good flow of blood going when your knee is bent. Ask them to rub from your toes toward your knees. This will encourage the fluid that has accumulated in your feet, causing the swelling, to return toward your kidneys, where it can be filtered out of your body.

foot massage

Use some olive or sweet almond oil as a carrier, and add a couple of drops of grapefruit essential oils.

Tea tree oil may also be applied to help stimulate circulation and get the swelling out of those feet.

Or treat yourself and go to a professional massage therapist to work their magic on your swollen feet and ankles! Don’t be shy about mentioning the problem when you get to your appointment, so she or he can focus on getting things moving in your lower extremities.

6. Get Those Feet Up!
Gravity is not your friend when it comes to water retention and swelling, so elevate your feet every chance you get! When you’re relaxing in the evening, prop your legs up on some pillows. And if you work a day job, try to find a way to prop your feet up under your desk. Even elevating a little bit can make a big difference in your swelling as the day goes on.

put feet up

I’ve mentioned how your veins get loose and lazy in the heat, and how they’re there fore not contracting hard enough to push the blood in your feet back up to your heart. Elevating your swollen feet and legs for a while each day—especially after you’ve been on your feet—let’s gravity assist in bringing the blood back to the center of your body, where all the important fluid-processing organs are. Ideally, you want your feet above your heart.

I hope you ladies find these tips useful this summer 😉 And if you have some tried and tested tips of your own, please feel free to share, share, share!

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