It is not unusual to notice swollen legs, ankles and feet and that’s why most people are not worried about this issue. This is especially true for those who have spent their day standing or walking. The medical term used for conditions like this is edema.
Typically, this type of swelling is natural. However, if people notice some other specific symptoms, this might indicate the presence of some serious health issue.
Edema can lead to pain, discomfort and even feeling of embarrassment in case it is happenings in the summer period when these body parts are exposed. So, what exactly is edema?
Swelling called edema comes as a result of excessive amount of fluids confined in the tissue of your body. This swelling is frequently found in the extremities like feet, legs and ankles.
There are different reasons why edema occurs – consumption of salty foods, practicing a sedentary lifestyle, improper blood circulation, pregnancy, taking specific medications, kidney and liver issues, lymphoedema, infection etc.
There are certain medications that can help you in situations like this, but our advice is to try natural remedies first.
Get Rid of Swollen Legs, Ankles and Feet
- Relax the legs. If you are experiencing edema, it is a good idea to lie down on the back because sitting usually creates pressure in some blood vessels especially the ones in the waist and knees. So, whenever you can take small breaks of 10-15 minutes.
- Using bandages to wrap the ankles and /or feet or putting compression socks can help people reduce swelling and help the blood circulation too.
- Using ice. You can also use a cold compress to tighten the blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Don’t use cold compresses for more than 15 minutes at once.
- Lie down on the ground and elevate the feet on a chair or pillow in order to support blood flow towards the torso.
Note: In case you start to notice that the lower extremities are getting swollen, slowly rub the problematic area in order to break down fluid buildup in the tissue and cells and support proper blood flow.
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1. Increase water intake
There are cases when dehydration can lead to edema even though this may not sound logical to some people. However, the truth is that we are not taking sufficient amount of water; the body is to retain water in cells and tissues which eventually makes them swollen. In situations like this, this swelling can occur in the brain too and the results can be devastating. If you want to be sure that your body is hydrated, drink eight glasses of water on a daily basis.
2. Reduce salt intake
Our body is constantly trying to keep water and sodium ratio out of the cells on an adequate level. If you take too much sodium (salt), the body tries to keep the water inside the body in order to maintain balance. This is known as fluid retention and leads to swelling too.
3. Stay away from foods packed with sugar
4. Use natural diuretics
Consumption of so-called diuretic foods can help people break down fluid accumulation in the tissues. Some good examples of diuretic foods include beets, IFL Science, pumpkin, asparagus, pineapple and leeks.
5. Increase magnesium intake
Magnesium is an essential mineral that eases the retention of fluid in women during menstruation. In addition, it eases muscle cramps that come as a result of edema.
6. Physical activity
Physical activity leads to muscle constrictions, which enlarges and constricts blood vessels and improves blood circulation.
In case you spend most of the day sitting or standing, try to extend, stretch and flex the knees and ankles every once in a while. In addition, it is crucial to stop crossing the legs when you are sitting.
7. Increase fiber intake
Fiber absorbs plenty of water, so it can help eliminate excess amounts from the body as it passes through the intestines. What’s more, it’ll enhance the health of your colon and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fiber-rich food sources include legumes, lentils, berries, whole grains, and avocados.
In case the swelling doesn’t go away or it comes together with frequent headaches, chest pain and improper breathing, it is the best idea to consult your doctor.