Updated: Jun 21, 2019
Now that it's summer, I have more people coming in with swollen feet and ankles.
In your body's attempt to cool, blood is directed toward the surface of the skin to cool off, fluid then pushes into surrounding tissues where it can get stuck.
Excessive heat can cause swelling in your feet but so can certain medications, lifestyle, and too much sodium.
In all cases of swelling, you should be checked out by your doctor to rule out serious conditions - this is particularly important if you are pregnant, if it is painful or if there is a sudden onset of swelling
Here are some top causes of foot swelling and some natural ways to fix them.
The Cause: Its Hot
When it's hot, our bodies try to cool us down by increasing blood flow to the surface of our skin.
Our extremities can dissipate heat faster than the core of our body, but it can also be harder for blood to return to the heart due to gravity, poor venous function and the natural movement of our bodies (too much standing or sitting).
There may be additional causes (like the ones below) that make your feet swelling worse.
Your feet may swell when its hot out but also because you eat too much sodium and you sit down too much at your job, and because of inflammation caused by a food sensitivity which is caused by poor gut health.
In other words, the temperature may not be the real problem.
The Fix: Cool Off, Compression & Treat Underlying Causes
Get out of the heat as much as possible if your feet swell. Wear a sunhat, use a sun umbrella and UPF clothing - anything to keep your core body temperature lower than the blazing temperature outside.
If you must be outside, you can take a little spray water bottle full of ice water. After all, your body is pushing blood to the surface to cool it faster, misting the surface of the skin speeds up this process.
Compression stockings or calf sleeves can be used before your feet start to swell and may reduce how much they swell by the end of the day.
Your stockings should not be painful or cut into the skin but should be snug. The tightness is what is helping your body escort fluids back up to your heart.
If natural remedies or conventional treatment do not seem to be working, a functional medicine practitioner can find what is causing your swelling and can treat it using natural, non-pharmaceutical methods.
Read more about functional medicine.
The Cause: Too Much Salt
A poor diet (one full of processed foods and low on fruits and vegetables), is one of the leading causes of swollen feet.
Excess salt can affect the delicate balance of hydrostatic pressure between your veins and surrounding tissues - this causes water to become 'stuck' in your tissues.
The Fix: Eat Less Salt!. . . and Check your Adrenal Function
The easiest way to stop diet-related excess swelling is to clean up your diet.
If your feet are swelling as a result of what you are eating, it is most likely not due to some sea salt sprinkled on your dinner but the truckloads of salt manufacturers use to preserve fast foods and processed foods like deli meats and pre-made dinners.
This swelling is a warning of how hard a poor diet makes your body work to maintain homeostasis.