Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Below mentioned are some of the effective home remedies for pedal edema. Those who are prone to get swelling in the lower limb or pedal edema often should try these things regularly. But one should take caution to take an opinion from an expert doctor and get the cause of the swelling diagnosed before trying any remedies. If there is any serious ailment at the backdrop of swelling, the main disease should be addressed comprehensively to get rid of the swelling.
Lifestyle tips for pedal edema
Leg elevation – Whenever you are lying down, make sure to keep your legs elevated. See that your legs are placed at a level higher than your heart. Pillow may be placed under the legs to make the legs comfortable as they are elevated.
Active lifestyle – Keep self active, avoid sedentary works or take breaks in between
Stretch your legs – Keep stretching and moving your legs often
Avoid tight clothing – Avoid wearing garters and other types of restrictive clothing around your thighs. These may constrict the veins and back flow of blood leading to fluid accumulation and subsequent swelling in the foot, legs and ankles.
Maintain healthy weight – Obesity and overweight is an important causative factor for foot and leg swelling. Therefore one should maintain a healthy body weight especially if they are prone to put on weight. Reasonably planned diet and good exercise protocol will help.
Wear stockings – One should wear support stockings or compression socks to prevent foot swelling
Keep moving – Stand up or keep moving around at least once every hour. Taking breaks is very essential especially if your work or activities demand sitting or standing still for long periods of time.
Have good exercising – To maintain good circulation of blood one should regularly exercise. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week for adults between 18-64 years age
Monitor your feet – Shoes that are too tight due to swelling can often cut into your skin and creates wounds, which may in turn worsen your swelling. Change ill-fitting shoes and use comfortable foot wear.
Swimming – Swimming and floating in water can help with swollen foot, leg and ankles. The pressure from water can get things in your leg moving, and floating gives your circulatory system a break from gravity’s constant pull.
Walk and Jog – Walking or Jogging should be done for at least 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
Avoid Smoking and alcohol – Smoking and or alcohol can either cause or trigger swelling. It is better to keep away from these habits.
Read related: Pedal Edema: Feet Swelling Causes, Differential Diagnosis, Symptoms
Healthy foods to reduce ankle swelling:
Reduce salt – Take as less salt as you can or avoid whenever possible. Excess salt builds up the amount of fluid accumulation in the legs. Less salt intake decreases the amount of fluid that may build in your legs, thus reducing the chance of occurrence of swelling. Adults up to age 51 consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day (Mayo Clinic recommendation)
Reduce caffeine – Reduce caffeine intake which is common cause of foot swelling.
Fresh vegetables and fruits – Prefer taking lot of fresh vegetables and fruits instead of canned versions. Canned versions often contain added salt for preservation.
Epsom salt – To get relieved from swelling-associated with pain, one should keep their feet and ankles soaked in a cool bath filled with Epsom salt for at least 15-20 minutes. If one has diabetic neuropathy in the feet, they should check the temperature of the water with their hands first to avoid feet being burnt
Magnesium supplements – Adding about 200-400 mg of magnesium to your daily diet can help limit your water retention and pain. Take doctor’s opinion. You shouldn’t be using it if you have a kidney and heart condition. Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, soybeans, avocado, bananas and dark chocolate.
Treatment for pedal edema:
Soothing Massage – Massage is a good remedy for foot swelling. It wards of swelling and associated pain and discomfort. It can be blended with steaming or dipping the foot in warm water or warm salt water after massage. Pregnant women who have swelling can find a prenatal massage specialist who would help them in getting rid of edema of foot. Foot massage helps relax sore muscles and improve circulation. It also encourages excess fluid drainage to reduce swelling.
Mustard oil or Olive oil – You can use warm mustard or olive oil or medicated oil (Ayurvedic) to rub on the swollen area. Gently massage the area for 5 minutes in upward direction rather than downwards, avoid deep pressure. Do this several times a day. Best results are seen when you massage your feet during or after taking a bath.
Use Essential oils – We have less evidence about the role of essential oils in reducing or curing pedal edema. However one can use peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil or lavender oil or chamomile if they find any of them useful.
Grapefruit Essential Oil – Add few drops of grapefruit essential oil to your warm water bath. It helps in reducing swelling. Alternatively you can soak your feet in this water. This oil can be mixed with olive or sweet almond oil and used for massage of swollen foot.
Home remedies for feet swelling:
Ginger – Ginger is a natural diuretic. It helps treat swollen feet. It helps diluting sodium which is a major contributing factor for pedal edema. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps in reducing swelling. Massage your swollen foot with ginger oil. Ginger tea or chewing ginger slices will also help.
Read related: Ginger Benefits, Research, Home Remedies, Side Effects
Dandelion – It is also a good diuretic. It helps the body to metabolize extra fluids. Thus it is a good remedy for swollen foot. According to a 2009 study (Journal of alternative and complementary medicine), dandelion has a diuretic effect that helps treat water retention effectively. It also helps to regulate sodium levels in the body. Mix 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried dandelion in a cup of hot water and cover it with lid. Later steep for 5 minutes and strain it. Drink this herbal tea 2-3 times in a day. You can alternatively take its tincture or supplements.
Read related: Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Uses, Research, Side Effects
Molasses and Saunf Drink – Boil one or 2 glasses of water with half teaspoon of molasses and a tablespoon of saunf (fennel seeda). Boil and reduce to half. Drink this 2-3 times a day. This will help to relieve foot or ankle swelling.
Keep Hydrated – Drink lot of water, it keeps the foot and ankle swelling at bay. More fluid intake helps dilute the salt in your system, also flushes it, the salt being one of the prime culprits in the causation and triggering pedal edema. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to flush things out.
Cucumber-Lemon Water – Prepare Cucumber-lemon water by dropping a couple of cucumber and lemon slices in your glass. Both these have anti-inflammatory properties. Their juice can also be taken.
Lemon water – Drinking lemon water helps in flushing excess fluids and toxins from the body. This clears water retention in pedal edema and related swelling. It has a similar impact on swelling caused in other parts of the body due to water retention. It keeps the body hydrated and also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Mix 2 tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of warm water. Sweeten it with little raw honey. Drink this lemon water a few times in a day.
Read related: 35 Health Benefits Of Lemon – Ayurveda Details
Apple Cider Vinegar – It helps reduce swelling in your feet. It is rich in potassium which helps reduce fluid retention. Mix equal amounts of warm water and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Soak a towel in the solution, wring out the excess liquid and then wrap the towel around your swollen feet. It should be done for 10 minutes, a few times daily. Alternatively add 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water mix it with some honey and drink it 2-3 times in a day.
Coriander seeds – Coriander seeds are best for swollen feet. They are anti-inflammatory in nature. They help in reducing swelling and also improve circulation. Add 2-3 teaspoons of coriander seeds to 1 cup of water boil and reduce to half, strain it, allow it to cool slightly and drink it. Take this twice a day.
Read related: Coriander Seed And Leaves Health Benefits – Complete Ayurveda Details
Brown Rice – Take brown rice which contain pyridoxine which is beneficial in easing fluid retention
Corn Silk and Horsetail – These two are found effective in easing fluid retention, hence beneficial in reducing pedal edema
Cranberries – help in excreting more water from the body, relieve fluid retention and thus helpful in relieving pedal edema
Cabbage, Salads and Cabbage – act as natural diuretics, helps to eliminate fluid retention and relieve swelling of foot, legs and ankle
Proteins – Eat more protein rich foods, they help to release excess water from the body. Take those fruits which are rich in potassium, like banana as it encourages shedding more fluid from the body.
Vitamins – Use Vitamins B6, B5 and D
Use lesser amount of beverages – like tea, coffee and alcohol
Curds and garlic – Take Curds and Garlic, the combination relieves fluid collection and inflammation
Avoid junks – Avoid chips which are rich in salt (potato chips) and processed foods
Contrast Hydrotherapy – This includes usage of both cold and hot water. It is highly effective to reduce foot swelling or pedal edema. Warm water helps in improving circulation. Cold water helps in reducing inflammation and swelling. To do this, fill 2 foot tubs – one with cold and the other with hot water. Soak your feet in the warm water for about 3-4 minutes. Immediately put your feet in the cold water for about 1 minute. Continue alternating for 15-20 minutes. Repeat a few times daily until you get relief.
For better results always use more than one therapy or home remedies (of course after doctor’s consent).
Time to consult doctor:
Swelling in lower extremities may sometimes be a sign of something serious or reflect some serious disorder in the backdrop. Take doctors consent when you have the below mentioned conditions –
- If you have a heart disease or kidney disease and also experience swelling in the foot, leg or ankle
- If you have liver disease and are experiencing swelling in your legs
- If there is redness and warmth on touch in the swollen areas
- If your body temperature is very high (higher than normal) when you have swelling of lower limbs
- If you are pregnant and are experiencing sudden or severe pedal edema
- If you have tried all sorts of home remedies but they haven’t been successful
- If your swelling is not getting reduced, in fact is getting worse with time
- If you develop ulcerations or blisters, sores in the foot
- If you develop swelling on one side, you could be at risk for a deep vein thrombosis (dvt)
Symptoms of emergency
If you find one or more of the below mentioned symptoms along with foot, leg and ankle swelling you should consider it as a condition of emergency and seek immediate medical attention. They are –
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Feeling light headedness or fainting
- Pain, pressure or feel of tightness (catch) in the chest area
Yoga postures which improve circulation and reduce pedal edema (swelling of foot, leg and ankles)
Sukhasana – Easy Pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLvJD7iKVhw
Pranayama – Deep Breathing
This is essentially a breathing exercise which moves the breath in unique ways allowing for different effects on the nervous system. At night, practicing calm breathing, even breathing in a 1:1 ratio and then eventually building up to 1:2 allowing the exhale to lengthen more than the inhale. You can also try inhaling while blocking one nostril and alternating nostrils with each breathe, which can help calm the nervous system.
Tadasana – The Mountain pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxEjqmv5u08
Utkatasana: chair pose – – http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xki399_yoga-chair-pose-utkatasana_lifestyle
Virabhadrasana II – Warrior pose II – – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcp3Lz7WJs
Trikonasana – Triangle Pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upFYlxZHif0
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9NmO53_biY
Ashwa Sanchalanasana – High Lunge pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXupg3oNGJY
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Half Pigeon Pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_zPqA65Nok
Sarvangasana – The shoulder stand pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyIMZBeYVNQ
Shavasana – The Corpse Pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh8z3FHjdW4
Urdhwahastottasana – Upward hand or Upward Salute pose – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvj-3nxC2Vs
Parshwa Konasana – Side angle stretch pose
Halasana – Plough pose
Setu Bandhanasana – Bridge pose
Ashwa Sanchalanasana – The Equestrian posture
Kati Chakrasana – Half waist twist pose
Chakrasana – The Wheel Pose
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