Posts Tagged ‘footmassage’

by Guest Blogger Rose Caillier, DPM

Occasional swollen feet and ankles are quite common and often do not pose much concern.   Whether it is due to a strenuous exercise or a long day of shopping, increased daily activities on the feet can lead to accumulation of fluid called edema.   Normally, blood flow along with muscle contraction pushes blood in one direction from our feet back to the heart.  But when valves in the veins do not work properly, fluid can back up and pool around the feet and ankles.

Swelling in the feet and ankles is also a common finding in pregnancy.  Increase in blood volume along with a growing fetus puts pressure on the veins causing fluid to be pushed out into the surrounding tissues.

Here are some things a person can do to help reduce swelling in the feet and ankles. 

Move the Feet.  Standing and sitting for long periods of time (like during airplane flights and car rides) does not allow the muscles to actively pump blood in the veins.  Stretch the legs, take walks down the aisle, or flex the feet up and down several times to keep moving.  A simple exercise is to trace the alphabet in the air with the feet.

Elevate the Legs.  When sitting, the feet should be propped up on a chair or stool.  Allowing the legs to hang down allows gravity to further collect fluid around the feet and ankles.  While lying down, a pillow placed under the heels or legs can keep the feet elevated.

Apply Compression.  Support stockings found at most drug stores help control swelling.  If they are not worn to sleep with, they should be applied first thing in the morning even before getting out of bed.

Get a Massage.  A Foot massage can be soothing and helpful.   Just a 5-10 minute foot massage per day can help stimulate circulation.

Consult a Doctor.  Feet that stay swollen can be a sign of serious medical conditions like heart, kidney, or liver failure.  Other causes of swollen feet and ankles include: being overweight, increased age, infection, sprain/strain or fracture, a blood clot in the leg, and side-effects of certain medications.  The doctor may even prescribe medications to help the body eliminate excess fluid and recommend a diet low in sodium.

Since a swollen foot can be a symptom of an underlying problem, it is wise to determine its cause particularly if there is pain or other areas of the body swells.  People who have loss of feeling in the feet, like a person with diabetic neuropathy, should seek medical attention right away if swelling occurs.   Otherwise, keeping an active lifestyle with regular exercise and proper nutrition will help maintain good circulation.


Rose Caillier, DPM, is a board certified podiatrist who has written for Podiatry Management magazine, is a contributing writer for The National Podiatric Medical Association’s newsletter Footnotes, and maintains her own blog at www.FootScribe.com. You can connect with Rose on Twitter; her handle is @FootScribe.


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At the end of a long workday, it’s hard not to recognize the pressure we’ve put on our feet. You take off your shoes and discover red, swollen feet and toes. Kicking off your shoes isn’t reward enough for those tired and overworked tootsies. Try these 5 special feet treats, and we guarantee you’ll be walking on sunshine in no time.

1. Soak your feet in a warm bath of scented Epsom salts. A remedy for what ails you, Epsom Salts have long been revered as the do-it-yourself at-home treatment for aches and pains. I enjoy Dr. Teal’s. The salts will take away the sting and soothe your feet, while the scent: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Spearmint, Chamomile, relaxes your inner spirit.

2. Massage your feet. There are several different options for foot massage. First, you can give yourself a massage at home. Use a lotion that offers extra care for dry skin; I recommend Aveeno, because it’s gentle and effective. Put on socks afterwards for extra moisturizing benefits. It may make sense for you to buy a footbath, found at Target, Walmart or the always entertaining Brookstone. You should be able to locate a decent machine for less than $100. If you’ve really abused your feet, go the extra mile and visit a local spa. You can find 30 minute massages, like a Reflexology massage, for as low as $40 to $50 per hour.

3. Stretch. That’s right, a few simple stretches can put the pep right back in your step. Many physicians tout stretching as one of the most effective “treatments” for foot pain, including Plantar Fasciitis. You can use moves from your doctor, videos, books, or a personal trainer. I suggest employing some of the stretches from Yoga, which you can find online, via videos, or at your local yoga studio. While stretching, listen to soft music to relax your mind and body as you work out the kinks. Try and stretch several times a week to see immediate benefits.

4. Give yourself a foot checkup. Inspect your feet routinely so that you are aware of any changes in your feet. Simple, yet important.

5. Grooming matters. Trim (and file) your toenails, push down the cuticles, and moisturize the toenails and cuticles. Of course men and women can view the final step as optional: use a conditioning clear polish to paint your toenails for the finishing touch.

Do you treat your feet? If you have a special “treatment” that you use to offer comfort and relief to our feet, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share your stories. Who knows, you may offer the perfect solution, encouraging others to follow in your footsteps.

The American Diabetes Association offers great resources for further foot care.

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