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HOW TO RELIEVE SWOLLEN FEET & ANKLES
By Bethesda, MD & Springfield, VA Foot Doctor, Dr. Paul Ross of The Podiatry Center

Most people know that if a body part swells, there’s inflammation. Feet are no different. If you have flexible flat feet, you may never have symptoms or pain. However, if you have other flat foot conditions, you may know all about swelling, pain, and discomfort.

This doesn’t mean that people with flexible flat feet never have problems; it’s just less likely. Today I’d like to go over the most common causes for swelling and pain where feet are concerned, whether they relate to flat feet or not.

Normal Swelling in Ankles & Feet

If you’ve been walking or standing for a long time, some foot swelling and ankle swelling is to be expected. People with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have swollen ankles or feet, so “the best way out is through” in the long term for those who are just beginning to get active. Dehydration can make swelling during activity worse.

For those who are obese, swelling is more frequent with less physical activity. Just like people who live a sedentary life, ankle and foot swelling might happen after walking, standing for a long time, or exercising. Staying hydrated, stretching, and low-impact exercises like swimming can help immeasurably.

Swelling is fairly normal during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. If you’re pregnant, foot and ankle swelling isn’t usually cause for concern. If swelling comes on suddenly or seems painful or extreme, however, it could be a symptom of preeclampsia. If you also get headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or infrequent urination, please call your doctor immediately.

Abnormal Swelling in Ankles & Feet

In order to stay focused in this article, I want to cover conditions that affect the feet and ankles specifically, even though there are numerous conditions that can cause swelling. If you suspect your condition doesn’t just affect your feet or ankles, it might be time to consult with a doctor.

Conditions that affect the feet and ankles specifically include:

  • Veins that cannot pump blood properly
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Aging
  • Leg infection
  • Obesity
  • Blood clot in the leg

Unless it occurs after an injury, swelling basically means that your body is having trouble working against gravity to pump blood upward and the area becomes inflamed. Many of the causes above can be worked on with home remedies. If you are in decent health, don’t have any systemic issues, or don’t normally have problems, some of these solutions may be just what your swollen feet or swollen ankles need.

Home Remedies To Relieve Swollen Feet & Ankles

Proper diet and activity can help prevent and even heal a lot of problems people have with their bodies, which is important to keep in mind. Making sure you get plenty of water, fruits and vegetables, and avoiding extremely unhealthy consumables such as soft drinks and candy can be a major step toward being healthy. Daily activity is also important, so even if you just go for a 20-minute walk every day, it will get you to a point of better health over time.

Of course those are long-term changes that should be made regardless of whether your ankles or feet are swollen right this minute, so here are some things you can do for immediate relief.

  • Elevate your feet.
    If gravity is the issue, this will get your blood flowing more easily.
  • Go swimming.
    Floating or swimming can get your circulation going.
  • Drink lots of water (8-10 8oz glasses a day, a minimum of 64 ounces a day).
    Excess salt in the body leads to water retention, which often leads to swelling. Staying hydrated can help your body flush out any excess salt and other materials that would get “stuck” otherwise. Add a slice each of cucumber and lemon for natural flavor and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Take a magnesium supplement.
    Magnesium deficiency can contribute to edema (swelling in your feet and ankles). For proper dosage, please consult your doctor.
  • Massage your feet.
    Use a few drops of olive oil to help ease swelling.
  • Do yoga.
    Exercise is great for your overall health, and yoga is a low-impact way to help your circulation and alleviate swelling.

If you try these tips and find that you still have swelling in your feet and ankles, it might be time to see a Bethesda, MD Foot Doctor or Springfield, VA Foot Doctor. We put your feet first here at The Podiatry Center, so give us a call today at (301) 656-6055.

This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.


The Podiatry Centers treat all medical and surgical foot pain and ankle pain conditions. Licensed Bethesda, MD Foot Doctor, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot pain and ankle pain relief.

Our Bethesda, Maryland (MD) and Springfield, Virginia (VA) Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.

Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!


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