Dealing with Swelling Feet as You Get Older? Learn the Causes and Natural Treatments
Have you noticed that your feet and ankles tend to swell more often as the years go by? If so, then you're not alone. While anybody can develop a swollen foot or two, regardless of age, it tends to happen more frequently with older adults.
So what's going on when feet swell? Technically speaking, swelling happens when fluid in the blood escapes capillaries and accumulates in the tissue surrounding your feet and ankles. This process is called edema, but is commonly known as fluid or water retention.
There are many reasons why edema may occur, including the following:
- Long periods of sitting or standing without change.
- Being overweight.
- Hormone changes, such as with menstrual periods.
- Diet high in salt and carbohydrates.
- Wearing shoes that are too tight.
- Injury or trauma to the foot or ankle.
- Neuromuscular disorders.
- Heart, liver or kidney disease.
- Blood clots.
- Side effects of medication.
That's a wide range of causes, some very benign and some very serious. As people age, their bodies become more susceptible to many of these conditions, especially when people become less active and begin taking more prescription drugs as the years go by.
Rest assured, there are some things you can do about your swelling feet—and they'll probably improve your overall health, too. Of course, you should always consult your doctor first regarding any health concerns. A trained medical professional can rule out the more serious causes and advise you on which treatment options are likely to work best. Most treatments will attempt to improve your circulation, and here are a few natural ways to do it:
- If you find yourself sitting or standing for long periods of time then try changing positions and moving around at frequent intervals. If you are unable to walk, stretching your legs and curling your toes may help.
- Cut back your salt intake to a teaspoon or less daily. This can help reduce water retention.
- In addition to salt, other dietary changes may also help. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks, which can impede circulation. On the other hand, adding foods high in fiber, Omega-3s and healthy monosaturated fats can be beneficial. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and nuts is often very effective.
- If you wear tight shoes, try looser fitting footwear.
- Give your feet a break from time to time by lying down with your feet elevated above your chest. Foot massages can also be beneficial, and very relaxing!
- Ask your doctor about supplements. B vitamins, fish oil, L-arginine and curcumin are all commonly used for boosting circulation. Many health food stores also carry blends of vitamins that target circulation concerns.
- Add regular exercise to your daily routine (it is always recommended to consult a medical professional before starting a new workout regime).
- Overweight? Try shedding a few pounds. I know, that's much easier said than done, but if you can do it then it may make a big difference.
Remember to be patient, because many of these home remedies can take weeks to show their effects.
Living with Swollen Feet
If you're waiting to see which treatments will work, or if you've been unable to find a way to keep your swelling down, then you probably encounter a great deal of discomfort when it comes to shoes. Most shoe brands don't make sizes large enough to accommodate a swollen foot, and tight shoes that impair circulation is unfortunately a big reason why feet swell in the first place.
If you struggle to find spacious footwear, we encourage you to check out Softstar's collection of adult casual, dress and athletic shoes. All of our shoes are designed to allow feet to spread and move naturally, as if you were barefoot, and are generally roomier than most conventional shoes. Here are a few styles you may want to try:
And if you need extra space, we recommend these two styles that can be made extra roomy. Our Original RunAmoc is available special Wide XL size, which fits many people who struggle to find shoes spacious enough for their feet. Our signature moccasin, the Roo can also accommodate more space than most. Both of these styles secure to your foot with a lace or elastic strap around the ankle. This allows much more space in the instep, where feet often swell the most.
Do you have any more tips for dealing with swelling feet? If so, please share them in the comments below!