Edema, or swelling in the feet and ankles, can be uncomfortable and even painful, making it hard to move around and do the things you need to do every day. Edema can be caused by a number of things, such as standing or sitting for long periods of time, being pregnant, taking certain medications, or having a health problem like heart failure or kidney disease. Here are some things you can do if you have edema in your feet and want to find ways to get rid of the swelling.
Elevate your feet: One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce edema in your feet is to elevate them above your heart. This helps to reduce the flow of blood and fluid to your lower extremities, which can help to reduce swelling. You can do this by lying down and propping your feet up on a few pillows, or by sitting in a chair with your feet resting on a stool or box.
Wear compression socks: Compression socks are specially designed to apply gentle pressure to your lower legs and ankles, which can help to reduce swelling and improve circulation. These socks can be especially helpful if you are prone to edema due to long periods of standing or sitting. You can find compression socks at most pharmacies or medical supply stores, or you can purchase them online.
Exercise your feet and ankles: Gentle exercises like pumping your ankles, stretching your calves, and curling your toes can help improve blood flow and reduce swelling in your feet. To do ankle pumps, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and lift your heels and toes off the ground in turns. To stretch your calves, stand in front of a wall and put your hands on it at shoulder height. Step back one foot and bend your front knee. Keep your back leg straight and your heel on the ground. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch legs. To do toe curls, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and curl your toes toward your shins as you lift them off the ground.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to flush excess fluid out of your body, which can reduce swelling in your feet. Aim for at least 8 cups of water per day, or more if you are exercising or spending time in hot weather.
Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time: Prolonged periods of standing or sitting can contribute to edema in your feet. If you have a desk job, try to take breaks and walk around every hour or so to help improve circulation. If you are on a long plane or car ride, try to stretch and move your feet and ankles frequently to keep the blood flowing.
Use over-the-counter diuretics: Diuretics are medicines that help you make more urinate more, which can reduce swelling. Furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide are two common diuretics that you can buy without a prescription (Microzide). You can take these medicines as pills or liquids, and it is usually safe to use them for a short time. But you should talk to your doctor before taking diuretics if you are pregnant, have kidney or liver disease.
Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have tried the above steps and are still experiencing edema in your feet, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Edema can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, and it is important to identify and address the cause in order to effectively treat the swelling. Your healthcare provider can perform a physical examination, order tests, and recommend additional treatments as needed.
In conclusion, there are several steps you can take to reduce edema in your feet. Putting your feet up, wearing compression socks, exercising your feet and ankles, staying hydrated, not standing or sitting for long periods of time, and using over-the-counter diuretics can all help reduce swelling. If these steps don’t work or if you have edema that doesn’t go away or is very bad, you should talk to a doctor or nurse for further evaluation and treatment. With the right plan, you can take care of edema in your feet and make your life better.
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