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How Can I Reduce Foot Swelling?

By K. Gierok
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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No matter your age, dealing with swollen feet can be very difficult, especially if you are otherwise typically quite active. Fortunately, some of the best ways to reduce foot swelling are also some of the easiest. For example, studies have shown that avoiding foods rich in sodium is one of the best ways to reduce foot swelling. In addition, keeping swollen feet elevated and icing them with caution may also prove effective in reducing the symptoms of swollen feet.

One of the best and easiest ways to reduce swelling is to avoid foods that are high in sodium. Studies have shown that high sodium intake can lead to fluid retention in the feet, especially in those who are already suffering from cardiovascular disease. Some examples of foods that are high in sodium include pickles, ketchup, chips, and almost all pre-packaged or highly processed foods. While foot swelling associated with high sodium diets can be reversed, it is often indicative of more serious, chronic health problems. For best results, foods that are rich in dietary sodium should be avoided altogether.

Another good way to reduce foot swelling is to keep the feet elevated. Due to the effects of gravity, blood flows down, towards the feet. This can often lead to high amounts of foot swelling, especially for those who already are suffering from poor circulatory function. One of the best ways to reduce foot swelling, then, is to keep swollen feet elevated. Those affected with swollen feet should sit in bed or in a chair that allows them to keep their feet raised for at least 20 minutes.

As with other swollen body parts, icing swollen feet may also prove effective when trying to reduce foot swelling. For best results, an icepack should be placed on the foot in question for at least 20 minutes. If an icepack is not available, resting the foot in a tub filled with ice is another viable option. Close supervision is required when using ice on swollen feet. Often, individuals suffering from the condition already experience decreased circulation to this body part, and may not be able to notice symptoms of frostbite as quickly as those not suffering from decreased circulation.

If simple treatments don't reduce swelling, there may be a more serious problem that requires a doctor's care. Swelling can be caused by heart, liver, or kidney failure or by a blood clot or infection, among other things. If the feet or legs are red or warm to the touch, or if the swelling is very sudden, it's a good idea to see a doctor.

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Discussion Comments

By literally45 — On Sep 25, 2014

I tend to get foot swelling during long terms. If I'm in a car, I try o take a break every few hours and walk around a little to get blood circulation going. It's a bit difficult during a flight, but I do take extra trips to the bathroom just for an excuse to walk a little bit.

My dad is a doctor and he actually suggested that I take a baby aspirin during trips. Since aspirin thins blood, it makes blood circulation easier. I have been doing this as well.

Of course, it's best to ask a doctor. I'm sure there are people who cannot take an aspirin. But stretching the legs and walking around a little bit is a sure way to prevent and reduce swelling caused by poor circulation.

By fBoyle — On Sep 24, 2014

@ZipLine-- Actually, swelling in pregnancy is not always normal. Excessive swelling or swelling that develops suddenly and is fairly constant may be a sign of a problem.

For example, high blood pressure in pregnancy can cause this kind of foot swelling. It may also cause swelling in the hands and face. God forbid, issues with the kidneys can cause swelling as well.

It's possible that you are experiencing foot swelling just due to the hormonal changes and changes with the weigh. But I urge you to mention it to your doctor so that they can run some basic tests to make sure that everything is okay. I don't mean to scare you. Don't panic. Just tell your doctor and ask him or her for advice.

By ZipLine — On Sep 24, 2014

I'm six months pregnant and have started experiencing foot swelling. It seems to go down when I lay down and put my foot up. But when I'm up and about, I can see my feet swelling again.

I know that swelling is normal in pregnancy because water retention occurs. And then there is also the increasing weight. What else can I do to relieve swelling? I don't want to lay around all day.

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