Swollen ankles are a common problem and are usually caused by fluid retention, medically referred to as peripheral edema. While not usually considered a health risk, the condition can be extremely uncomfortable and result in restricted movement in the legs and feet, making everyday tasks more of a struggle than they should be. Luckily, there are many simple but effective self-help treatments you can do at home to help reduce the symptoms, and here are just a few.
Elevate your feet
To counter the effects of gravity’s pull, elevate your feet at every chance you get. If possible, keep your feet raised above your heart to help encourage fluid to drain away from the affected area. Try to do this at least three or four times a day. If you work in a job that requires you to sit down for long periods of time, ask for a foot rest to keep your feet propped up and relieve some of the pressure. When you’re resting at home, put your feet up on some pillows, or for a more long term solution, invest in an adjustable bed or reclining chair.
Wear compression socks
Ok, so they’re not the most comfortable items of clothing, but wearing compression socks can be extremely effective at helping to reduce swelling around the lower legs. Available from most pharmacies, compression socks work by stimulating blood flow and preventing pooling. They can also help to stave off varicose veins, a common result of long term swelling. If possible, try to wear compression socks on long journeys or during the day if you are sitting down or standing for a long time.
Use salt soaks
Salt soaks can work wonders for swollen ankles, especially Epsom salt, which can be purchased over the counter from most pharmacies. Either add a few cups of salt to your bath water or soak your feet in a bucket of warm water for at least 10-15 minutes every day. This will help to reduce inflammation, ease discomfort and improve circulation. Salt soaks can also be beneficial for ankle injuries, infections and arthritis.
Gentle, low-impact exercises such as yoga and swimming can help to regulate your blood pressure, promote healthier circulation and relieve pain caused by inflammation. It’s also important to try and avoid remaining in the same position for too long. Move around as much as possible and regularly extend and flex your feet and ankles to reduce any cramp and puffiness. If you are overweight, doing regular exercise can be especially beneficial as it can help to take additional pressure off the ankles. However, take care to consult your doctor before taking up any new exercises, as some forms of physical activity can exasperate the problem.
Here at Adjustamatic, our adjustable beds and riser recliner chairs can offer an effective home treatment for swollen ankles. As well as helping to elevate your feet while you rest, our products have a built-in massage system that has been medically proven to combat symptoms of fluid retention.