Column: Find relief from swelling feet

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Commentary by Dr. David Sullivan

July is one hot month, and with that heat and humidity comes swelling feet and ankles. When it gets hot, your body expands small blood vessels in your feet to cool you down by rushing blood to your skin’s surface. That extra fluid has a hard time flowing out of your feet, especially since it’s already fighting gravity. This then leaves you with a condition known as heat edema.

Stop feet from swelling

While not usually dangerous, swollen feet can be unpleasant. These tips can help keep your feet from expanding on a hot day:

  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.
  • Elevate your feet above your heart. This helps excess blood flow out of your lower body to prevent or reduce swelling.
  • Increase your fluid intake. Drinking more water can help you fight fluid retention.
  • Boost your circulation with movement. Great choices include swimming or walking.
  • Flush out the fluid with your diet by adding diuretics such as lemons, leafy greens, onions and green beans.
  • Try massaging the swollen limbs to help fluid circulate.
  • Skip very hot showers or baths, since this can expand your blood vessels, making it even harder for excess fluid to flow out of your feet.
  • Add a magnesium supplement to your routine. A daily dose of just 200 mg can help you stay hydrated and stop feet from swelling in hot weather. Consult your physician before taking the supplement, especially if you have a kidney or heart condition.
  • Ask about compression stockings if your feet are swelling regularly. We can review options for helping improve your circulation with these garments and also make sure that your swollen feet and ankles aren’t a sign of a more serious condition.

If our preventative tips just aren’t helping, don’t wait for cooler weather to start feeling better. Contact our office and we’ll help you get the swelling under control.


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