Hola my lovely Olive Nation, super elated you could make it to my latest segment.
We’ve talked about our foot soldiers before and how to treat them the right way. But it wasn’t until mine started puffing up that I realized just how big of a problem swollen feet are.
But you’ve literally gotta hand it to your feet (pun intended). Why?
Because they seamlessly coordinate hundreds of muscles, ligaments, tendon and bones to carry you all day long.
And as if taking a beating for you wasn’t enough, most of us barely give them a second glance when we get home.
It’s safe to say that our feet are hands down (nailing these puns btw) the hardest working parts of our bodies.
So with all this wear and tear, it’s no surprise that swollen feet are one of the biggest complications faced by millions of people worldwide.
In fact, it’s not all too uncommon for our feet to puff up about half a size for one reason or the other. Sometimes, it could be something as simple as pressure and injury to more complicated issues such as pregnancies and medication.
So, why were my feet all swollen and puffy?
That’s for me to know, and my doctor to find out.
All I can say is that it’s because of one of the following common causes for swollen feet.
What Causes Swollen Feet?
a) Ankle and Foot Injuries
Most injuries to the feet always lead to swelling. Maybe you pushed yourself a bit too far in the track or sprained your ankle during an intense workout. These types of injuries can cause swelling both in and around your feet.
The body responds as it naturally would to injury – by pumping blood to the area so as to bring healing cells and fluids. In the end, the inflammation does its job to heal your feet. However, it will make your foot seem larger or more distended than usual.
b) Sitting or Standing for Long Periods
For nurses, doctors, cashiers, and many other professions, being on your feet the whole day is all part of the job. Now, it’s one thing to walk all day, and another to just stand. While standing, the muscles in your feet and legs don’t get the chance to contract. This slows down the flow of blood to your feet which eventually causes swelling.
Similarly, the same thing will happen if you also sit cross legged for hours on end. The reduced circulation and pinched vessels also aggravate the feet causing swelling and inflammation.
c) Being Overweight
That’s right people – you can officially add swollen feet to the long list of health complications that come with being obese.
I found out that this is actually one of the most common causes of swollen feet, especially here in the US.
In fact, some people treat swollen appendages as a part of their day to day lives, nothing to be worried about. Primarily, the reason why overweight people get recurrently swelling feet is because of the fat in their bodies and arteries which constricts circulation to the lower limbs.
d) Gout (Too Much Salt)
Turns out that when it comes to retaining water, common table salt might just be the worst dietary culprit. So it makes total sense consuming too much salt will lead to swelling of the feet among other body parts.
While most of us only think about the salt from our shakers, that’s actually the least of your worries. The largest sodium overdoses come from restaurants and process foods where the actual amount of salt is hidden among a list of equally worrying ingredients.
What’s more, it’s often used as a preservative, making the levels even more unhealthy.
For most of us women, swollen feet are inevitably part and parcel of pregnancy. Fortunately, it’s also quite natural and nothing to be too worried about.
Typically, the swelling starts at the second trimester when junior is heavy enough to press on the pelvic bone and cause a bit of compromised circulation.
Likewise, hormonal changes can also be blamed; in particular, pregnant women produce the hormone relaxin which causes joints and ligaments to enlarge. The swelling is reported to increase as the pregnancy progresses, but it will go down eventually.
Lymph is a protein packed fluid that makes its way around the body using an elaborate network of capillaries and vessels. This fluid is filtered in the lymph nodes which trap out unwanted bacteria and harmful substances.
But if there’s a problem with either the vessels or the nodes, then the fluid motion can be blocked leading to buildup which in turn leads to swelling and other complications.
g) Venous Insufficiency
This is a condition where the movement of blood up the feet and to the heart is insufficient. Typically, blood flows through one way valves up the feet. But when said valves become severely damaged, the blood flows back down and is retained within the soft tissue of the feet.
Swollen feet are usually one of the earliest symptoms of venous insufficiency and can lead to skin ulcers, changes and infections if not treated.
h) Blood Clot
Much like venous insufficiency, blood clots in the veins of the lower appendages can prevent the return of blood back up the legs and to the heart. Depending on where these clots are (superficial or deep vein thrombosis) one or more veins can be affected.
These clots can turn fatal if they were to break loose and make their way to the lungs or heart. So if you spot any color changes along with severe foot swelling, it might be time to call in the doctor.
i) Heart, Kidney, or Liver Failure
Sometimes, swollen feet can indicate issues with some vital body organs. For the heart, it could be that it isn’t pumping enough blood causing backups and build ups in veins. The kidneys are tasked with balancing fluids in your body and eliminating waste products that you don’t need.
So, if there’s a problem with the kidneys, the waste gets reabsorbed back in and accumulates in areas such as the feet. In turn, this causes swelling around the feet and other areas. For the liver, diseases such as cirrhosis can also lead to swollen appendages. The liver scarring interferes with blood flow and creates high pressure in the veins therefore causing swelling.
j) Side Effects from Medications
You’d be surprised at the number of drugs and medicines that have swollen feet as a side effect. Here’s a few of the common culprits when it comes to swollen feet.
- Diabetes medications are some of the most common drugs whose side effects include swollen feet.
- Steroids such as anabolics and androgenics as well as NSAIDS have also been known to cause swollen feet.
- Hormones found in contraceptive and replacement therapies such as estrogen also cause swollen feet.
- Calcium channel blockers and blood pressure meds such as procardia, diltiazem, Dilacor,Tiazac, Isoptin, Adalat, Nifediac and many more.
- Antidepressants such as desipramine, Pamelor, Elavin, Endep, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors like phenelzine and tranylcypromine also cause foot swelling.
How Do You Treat Swollen Feet
As you would expect, treating swollen feet should always start with addressing any underlying medical issues. Unfortunately, these may not be so easy to identify at first glance.
So, how do you diagnose swollen feet and ankles so that you may know the right treatment approach to use?
Simple, we’ll do it how the medical professionals do it – at least until the ‘pump your body full of toxic prescriptions’ part.
Typically, health professionals make observations and ask questions about the swelling so as to gain more insight on the cause. Once the cause is determined, treatment can be designed.
For example, if you’ve recently twisted your ankle before it started swelling, then it’s highly likely that the cause is as a result of a sprain and should subside in a few days.
Similarly, a swollen, warm foot with reddish discoloration is a sign of diabetes. However, the same symptoms around a cut could mean that the swelling was caused by infection.
And lastly, bilateral ankle and foot swelling usually indicate poor fluid management, diseases and other underlying ailments.
Fortunately, mild cases of foot swelling without any underlying disease can be quickly resolved without medical treatment. All it takes is simply raising the feet above the heart to help blood flow. Still, this is not a permanent solution.
If your swollen feet are caused by standing or sitting for too long, regular exercise and walking will help prevent swollen feet in the first place. As for the medical causes, it’s time to ditch the medication and go for more natural alternatives.
Essential Oils For Swollen Feet
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years and have been helping civilizations overcome ailments since before doctors knew what’s what.
Boasting of antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-fungal, sedative, and plenty more medicinal properties, essential oils are a force to be reckoned with.
And when it comes to dealing with foot related problems, the medicinal, cosmetic and therapeutic value of these aromatic oils is undeniable.
With the right oils and recipes, essential oils have the innate power to reduce inflammation, lower irritation, prevent infection, soothe aching joints, increase the elasticity of the skin and slow the aging process substantially.
So, which are the best oils for the job?
Recommended Product For Swollen Feet, Legs & Ankles
Before we get to the list of best essential oils and recipes, let me introduce the L’orpur Soothing Therapy Foot Gel! This product will give you instant relief for your sore, aching feet and helps relieve neuropathy, tired aching feet, muscles and tendon fatigue, Achilles and most other foot problems.
Best Essential Oils For Swollen Feet
Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself walking in a patch of poison ivy? That’s what I thought. When I was growing up, we had an entire hedge covered by stinging nettle – so you can imagine all those painfully exiting, stingy summers. This is where I got to know all about the wonderful properties of good old chamomile.
Once extracted and concentrated, chamomile essential oil is rich in potent anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it especially useful in treating swollen feet that are caused by injury or infection.
Don’t sound too surprised if you haven’t heard of this one yet; you wouldn’t be the first. But as rare as it might be to find in households, it just might be the secret weapon in the fight against swollen feet.
So, even though it’s not up there with the most popular oils, that doesn’t make it any less valuable, potent, or effective. This unknown essential oil boasts of some pretty strong anti-inflammatory and sedative properties that are crucial for relaxing sore muscles, easing leg aches, and easing swollen feet.
Here’s another incredibly effective oil when it comes to dealing with swollen feet. But not just injuries and infections; fennel oil is among the few oils that spans through all the three critical elements for comprehensive for treatment.
Fennel will contribute anti-inflammatory and sedative properties necessary for lowering inflammation and pain, it will also lend some of its cosmetic properties to help rejuvenate your feet.
4. Tea Tree
Before I go on a rant about all the wonderful properties that tea tree oil possesses, here’s a quick fact for you. Did you know that unlike hundreds of other essential oils, a drop or two of tea tree can be applied directly to the skin without the need to dilute in a carrier oil.
Now for the praising – Tea tree oil is globally prized for its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it the ideal candidate for swollen feet. This oil not only cleans and disinfects cuts that cause inflammation, but it can also treat fungal infections, colds, wounds, burns, rashes, and injuries to the feet. And in case you didn’t know, most foot creams have tea tree as the main ingredient.
Here’s an oil that’s been vigorously climbing up the popularity ladder recently. It’s as if all the guys in the lab just rediscovered how practical and effective geranium is. But it’s one element in Geranium that makes it particularly good for swollen feet.
If your swollen feet are caused by issues with the lymph vessels or nodes, Geranium addresses the swelling by treating the lymphatic system first. Similarly, Geranium will also help with bug bites, colds sores and hemorrhoids among other issues.
6. Peppermint and Eucalyptus
Instead of talking about these two esensh’ oil giants separately, I’ve decided to put them together because not only do they have similar characteristics, they also complement each other perfectly.
Both eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils boast of incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial characteristics that all come in handy for swollen feet.
Peppermint contains a distinctive component called menthol that has strong calming or sedating abilities. These blend with eucalyptus to not only help with muscle aches and joint relief, but also boost energy levels and help you relax. Likewise, the powerful, minty scent of peppermint also helps combat foot odor normally associated with swollen and sweaty feet.
Essential Oil Recipes For Swollen Feet
1: Massage Cream for Swollen Feet
- 12 drops Geranium
- 10 drops Chamomile
- 6 drops Cypress
- 4 drops Eucalyptus
- 2 oz (60ml) Olive oil
- Dark glass bottle
When it comes to swollen feet, nothing works better than a thorough foot massage. Not only does it help work the oils into the skin, but the rubbing action also helps stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation to and from the feet. So naturally, I chose oils that will complement the foot massage.
To make use of this recipe, start by mixing up all the ingredients in the glass bottle. Shake well and then prepare for a nice soothing massage. You can ask someone to massage you more deeply. All they need is to rub about 5 drops of the cream and deeply massage the feet going upwards towards the heart.
2: Fluid Drain Recipe for Swollen Feet
- 15 drops Fennel
- 10 drops Wintergreen
- 8 drops Peppermint
- 6 drops Eucalyptus
- 2 oz. (60ml) sweet almond oil
- Dark glass bottle (dropper)
As mentioned earlier, one of the major causes of swollen feet is fluid retention. More specifically, it is caused by a condition known as Lymphedema where instead of being filtered as normal, lymphatic fluid gets blocked leading to buildup which in turn leads to swelling and other complications. What you want to do here is help drain the excess fluid from your tissues and hopefully back into circulation.
I chose Fennel as the star of the show because it’s among the few oils that spans through all the critical elements for comprehensive for treatment.
To make use of this recipe, start by adding the above oils in the glass bottle and shaking well. Elevate your legs and then massage a few drops of the oil into your feet for faster draining.
3: Dead Salt Swollen Foot Soak
- 8 drops Tea Tree
- 4 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Wintergreen
- 2 cups of Dead Sea salts / Epsom salts
Sometimes, all your feet need to help boost circulation and improve hygiene is a routine foot soak. However, I created this here recipe especially for people with swollen feet caused by injuries, cuts, and infections.
To use this recipe, pour boiling water in a large bowl and let it cool it to a comfortable temperature. Add in about 2 cups of the Dead Salts or Epsom salts and stir until dissolved. Soak your swollen feet in the bath for around 20 minutes to get circulation flowing to the feet and cleansing to prevent and treat bacterial and fungal related foot issues.
4: Pain Relief Soak for Swollen Feet
- 10 drops Wintergreen
- 10 drops Eucalyptus
- 10 drops Peppermint
- Tablespoon of Baking soda
- Half a cup of Epsom salts
Here’s a highly effective recipe that will come in super handy for literally all types of foot pain issues. See, the thing with swollen feet is that they’re always accompanied by aches or pains.
Whether you sprained your ankle, got cut or had an infection, you can expect quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Here, you’ll need plenty of wintergreen.
That’s because this particular oil packed with pretty potent antioxidant, sedative, energizing, analgesic and immune-enhancing properties that are perfect for dealing with sore, swollen and aching feet.
Start by filling your foot soak tub about halfway and adding in the Epsom salts. Pour the baking soda in and stir before adding your oils. Soak your swollen feet for a nice half hour to relieve pains and aches, and the swelling should go down eventually.
That wraps up another highly informative segment on taking proper care of our foot soldier. Now, you’ve no doubt realized that swollen feet can be more deadly than most of us care to think.
Looking at today’s modern treatments, it’s also clear that the so called medical professionals don’t really have our best interest at heart. Don’t get me wrong, even I’ve had to use NSAIDS and corticosteroids for one reason or another.
But I can honestly say that the side effects of these drugs were not really worth the minimal, temporary relief they offer. My advice is to let the doctors help you diagnose the real cause of your swollen feet before blindly giving yourself an OTC prescription. Then, you’ll be able to have the best possible treatment in conjunction with essential oils for a faster and smoother recovery.