Swollen foot remedy: Foot baths

Hydrotherapy is a fancy name for alternating dips between hot and cold water baths. The hot water allows the blood vessels to dilate, while the cold water causes them to contract. This helps improve circulation, which can reduce and prevent pooling of fluids in the feet and ankles. Try putting your feet in the hot water for three to five minutes, and then into the cold water bath for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue alternating between the two for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this a few times a day.

Swollen foot remedy: Epsom salt

Give your bath a boost by adding Epsom salt. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt works to reduce swelling and improve circulation, and is easily absorbed through the skin, giving you immediate relief from swelling and the pain associated with it. Mix half a cup of Epsom salt in a foot tub with either warm or cool water for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat up to three times a week—and get some anxiety relief as a bonus.

Swollen foot remedy: Exercise

It may seem counterintuitive to get up and move around when your feet and ankles feel twice their normal size. But using the muscles in your feet and legs can help move excess fluid out of your feet and back to your heart. Regular exercise can also help prevent swollen feet in the first place. If it’s simply too painful to exercise, try a non-weight-bearing exercise like swimming, which will have the added benefit of soothing your skin. Check out the clear signs you need to move more.

Swollen foot remedy: Compression socks

Compression socks work by applying pressure on your feet that prevents fluid from collecting there, and by reducing leakage of fluids from the capillaries. You can buy compression socks over the counter from your local drugstore. However, if your swelling, also called edema, is moderate or severe, you may want to ask your doctor about getting a prescription compression stocking. Don’t miss the health secrets your feet wish they could tell you!

Swollen foot remedy: ElevationiStock/elenaleonova

Elevate your legs above heart level when you’re sitting or lying down to decrease swelling. Try lying on your back with your legs propped against a wall for a few minutes several times a day. You may also want to rest your legs on a pillow or bolster while you’re sleeping. Check out other ideal sleep positions for common health conditions.

Swollen foot remedy: Magnesium

A magnesium deficiency can contribute to swelling in the feet. If you get the okay from your doctor, try taking a 200 to 400 mg magnesium supplement daily, unless you have a kidney or heart condition. You can also up your magnesium intake naturally by adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Try dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, soybeans, bananas, and even dark chocolate!

Swollen foot remedy: Salt limits

Reducing your salt intake can help decrease fluid retention. (Related: These are signs you’re eating too much sodium.) Common high-salt culprits include pretzels, chips, commercial pancakes, fast foods, and canned fruits and vegetables. Your doctor can give you advice on how much salt you should aim for.

Swollen foot remedy: Massage

Massage can help relax muscles and improve circulation. It works by activating the lymphatic system, which can help move excess fluid out of your feet, reducing swelling. Do a little self-massage by stroking the feet toward your heart up to several times a day. Don’t massage so hard that it hurts, but do use firm pressure. The massage may be extra beneficial during or immediately after a bath.

Swollen foot remedy: Apple cider vinegar

One of apple cider vinegar’s many health benefits: a high potassium content, which may help reduce the fluid retention that often causes swollen feet. You can try wrapping your feet in a warm towel soaked in a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water. And if you can handle the taste, you can also try drinking it: Take two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and mix it with a glass of water and some honey. Drink the mixture twice a day.

Swollen foot remedy: Water

While it may sound strange to drink more water if you’re retaining water, drinking eight or more glasses of water or herbal tea a day can help flush out toxins, sodium, and excess fluids. (Try one of these natural flavored water recipes.) You may see added benefit by drinking a few cups of ginger or dandelion tea a day too. Ginger and dandelion are both natural diuretics, which can help the body release extra fluids, which also helps to naturally reduce sodium levels.