1. Exercise! Exercising stimulates blood circulation and prevents the blood from pooling in your lower extremities. If you’re suffering from painful or inflamed legs, swimming can be the perfect solution. When you float, the impact is taken off your feet, which eases the discomfort. So find a pool, or take a dip in a nearby sea or lake. If you do yoga, go for the postures that make you lift your feet above the head. This is called an inversion and has many health benefits, including improved immunity and digestion. So start with your headstand as soon as you notice your feet swelling… and experience the thrill of it. Incorporating physical activities into your daily life is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
2. Elevate your legs. If you’re not quite ready for the headstand yet, try elevating your legs by putting them on a higher surface so that they are above the heart. Do that for 30 minutes, three times a day, and observe the difference. When you’re in bed, put a pillow under your ankles. This will help drain the excess fluid, so it can then get absorbed in the body, or is eliminated with urine.
3. If you sit for long periods of time, get up and walk around a bit. When your boss asks you what you are up to, explain that you are just trying to prevent your feet from swelling. Walking for 10 minutes, three times a day, should be enough to keep your tootsies healthy and happy.
4. When you travel, consider wearing compression socks. I know that they can be difficult to put on, but they do serve their purpose. They help the blood vessels with their elasticity, so that the blood doesn’t pool in your legs. Plus, they prevent varicose veins. Consider wearing them on long-haul flights and on long bus and train journeys. My traveling friend would certainly benefit from wearing them. Also, support/compression socks or stockings can be good for you if you’re already suffering from leg inflammation.
5. Eat healthy and avoid excess salt. A bit of salt is good for you, and is in fact needed for the body to function well. But too much salt can cause water retention and should be avoided. Caffeine too is a known culprit. So go easy on the salt and try to bring your coffee intake to a minimum. If you are overweight, consider losing some weight, so you reduce the pressure that is put on your muscles, joints and bones. Every little helps. To get some ideas that can help you reduce your weight, you can have a look at my previous articles 12 simple tweaks for weight loss and great health and 9 secrets of losing weight without diet.
6. Stop smoking! Smoking is one of the top 10 habits to stop right now if you want to be healthy. I know, easier said than done. But think of all the rewards that come when you stop smoking. Having your feet less swollen is just one of them. Also, smoking is related to many (more serious) underlying conditions that can cause lower limb swelling.
7. Drink plenty of water. We are all guilty of often not drinking enough fluids. By drinking water throughout the day, we hydrate our tissues and detox the body. Sodium and caffeine, which contribute to feet inflammation, get diluted if we water ourselves sufficiently. Eight to ten glasses a day should be the norm. Drink more if you had some alcohol. So make sure you carry that water bottle with you. For added antioxidant value, squeeze some lime or lemon in or prepare your own flavored water.
8. Massage the painful area. Or even better, make someone else do it for you. Massaging your feet is extremely relaxing and improves your blood circulation. Use gentle but firm motions, and always go in the direction of the heart.
9. Soak your feet in Epsom salt and feel the bliss. I’ve already written about the great uses for Epsom salt, and I’m sure your legs and feet will appreciate the attention. If you feel like indulging yourself completely, add a few cups of sea salt to your bathwater and soak your whole body. Essential oils can help alleviate pain and discomfort too. Some popular choices are peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon and lavender that are all known to have anti-inflammatory properties. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
10. Take magnesium supplements. Often feet inflammation, which can result in painful swelling, is connected to magnesium deficiency. A dose of 350 mg a day can make a difference, but always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.