I always thought it was one of the scary signs of aging, when your feet, and ankles start to swell. It can happen after long periods in one position, or after sudden weight gain. But peripheral edema can come at any age and have a variety of causes. Sometimes, hormonal changes, especially those associated with pregnancy can cause swollen legs, feet, or ankles. Standing for long periods of time, rapid weight gain, or a change in medication all cause the swelling of your lower limbs. It may also be the sign of serious medical problems, like a clot or cardiomegaly and other heart conditions. If swollen legs come with any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Fainting or dizziness
- Coughing blood
These symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly if left untreated. If you’ve recently had an injury, or you’re noticing the swelling only on one side, see a doctor as soon as possible, as it could be related to an injury or illness.
But what if that isn’t you? What if you have recurring swollen legs, feet, ankles, no other symptoms, no pain, and no idea where it comes from, or what to do about it? This article will talk you through all the ways to treat your peripheral edema at home, totally naturally, and with only a few minutes of commitment a day!
Magnesium deficiency is one cause of edema, and magnesium is easily available at a pharmacy. Check with your doctor before taking it, especially if you’re pregnant or on prescription medication. 200 mg twice a day will help keep swelling down, and stop it from recurring.
Herbal teas for detox and swelling
Parsley leaf tea is a great option for removing swelling. Since it’s a natural diuretic, it’s perfect for removing excess water from the body. You can buy it at a health food store, or make your own, by boiling water with 2 tbs of dried parsley and mixing in some lemon juice for taste. 3 cups a day every 3 or so days should drastically reduce the swelling.
Flaxseed is another choice, whether you mix it in food, or make a tea, just as you would with the parsley. As a great bonus, both flax seed and parsley have great health benefits, including detoxing effects and huge antioxidant boosts for your immune system, which makes them perfect for flushing out your system, too.
Relaxing with a purpose
Having a warm bath with some essential oils can be relaxing, which helps you with swelling in your muscles. Adding grapefruit essential oil (5-10 drops, right in the tub), will help reduce swelling caused by water retention, or by staying in one position to long, either sitting or standing. It also feels great on your skin.
While you’re soaking, be sure to rub your trouble spot, starting from the bottom, moving upwards. You should be soaking at least 20 minutes or more, depending on the swelling. If you can’t handle a full bath, try a foot bath, if the swelling is the ankles and feet. Adding Epsom salt will also help with the pain. Homemade detox body wraps are another solution that you can use topically. Set yourself an at-home spa day, and you’ll be back on your feet in no time!
Of course, if your at-home massages aren’t doing the job, you could always book a professional. Many massage therapists have been trained for physiotherapy or used as part of rehab after an injury. Be honest about your problem. There are so many types of massages, and the therapist will be able to offer the best options to suit your needs.
There are many different exercise types that work well to improve circulation, keep your muscles and tendons stress-free, and keep blood from pooling in your legs, ankles, and feet. All of these contribute to edema. With just a few minutes of stretching a few times a week, you can save yourself a lot of pain and discomfort
Walking – by far the easiest way to lower the risk of blood pooling from standing or sitting in one position for too long. Long or short walks, the best way to solve your problem, is to move around and shift position often.
Leg lifts – By holding the back of a chair for support, lift one leg off the floor and move it backward, as you keep your leg straight. Repeat as often as you can comfortably do so, and make sure to rest between sets of 5 or 10.
Calf stretches – As you hold a chair for support (again!) step up on your toes, hold for a couple of seconds, and lower. You’ll feel the stretch in your calves. It’ll be uncomfortable the first few times, but it’s sure to keep your blood moving!
Yoga – Yoga is great for so many things. Circulation is just one of them, but it’s perfect for reducing swelling. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist, or instructor about the best positions to try. Focus on poses that require you to elevate your feet and your legs, which is another great simple way to keep blood from pooling there. Yoga also improves your heart health, and since swelling in the feet and legs can be caused by diabetes or heart conditions, this is really good news for anyone who is already showing symptoms.
There are plenty of reasons you might find yourself with peripheral edema. Pregnancy, diabetes, heart conditions, age, and inactivity are all factors in chronic edema. If you notice your limbs swelling, I would advise you get to your doctor to have them rule out anything really serious. If it turns out it’s mild, there are plenty of at-home remedies to try. Everything from stretches, to supplements, and even massage therapy. Find something that works for you, and you’re sure to have your blood pumping before long!