It is shocking to look down and find that your ankles have doubled in size and your toes look like puffy sausages. Swelling can come on quick and lead to discomfort and pain in your feet. If you spend a lot of time standing, sit all day for work, overheat from exercise or, turn on a constant flow of warm inside air conditioning, are pregnant, or have certain medical conditions, you may be more susceptible to this uncomfortable reality. But there are some home remedies you can try to alleviate puffiness and rediscover the bones in your ankles! Here are five.
1. Drink More Water
How much water are you drinking? While it may feel like your body is taking on too much water, swelling counterintuitively points towards dehydration and your will hold onto your remaining fluids when it does not feel like it is getting enough. Drinking more water should help flush out the swelling.
2. Wear Compression Socks
With graduated technology, compression socks tighten most around the ankle and slowly ease as they move up the calf, increasing blood flow back up toward the heart. These socks prevent your legs from swelling and reduce water retention or potential blood clots. Wear them for a few hours throughout your day and notice a visible reduction in water retention.
3. Elevate Your Feet
Especially if you have spent much of the day on your feet, you will benefit from propping the poor puppies up. Lie down and place a couple of pillows underneath your feet so that they are elevated higher than your heart. This will reverse blood flow and alleviate swelling. Stay in this position for at least 20 minutes and you will soon notice that your ankles have lost the majority of their puffiness.
You can also experience swelling if you have been seated for a long period of time. If you have to sit for hours a day for work, try to get up and move every hour or so. This will help prevent blood from pooling around your ankles. Getting your heart rate up just a little bit will better pump blood through your body. Take advantage of your 10 minute breaks at work and take a couple small walks around the building throughout the day! Or flex your knees and ankles as you walk to the bathroom and water station.
5. Reduce Your Salt Intake
Too much salt in your diet can also lead to fluid retention. Think back on the foods you have eaten in the last couple of days. Many foods from restaurants contain much more salt than we would shake on top of our homemade meals. Try eating more meals from home over the next couple of days and see if you notice a reduction in swelling.