Swelling in the legs is often caused by fluid buildup or inflammation, according to Mayo Clinic. This can be a sign of something as dangerous as kidney disease, gout, or arthritis, among other ailments. This is why it is important to visit a doctor if you notice swelling in the legs, especially if it gets progressively worse.
But if you’ve been to the doctor and received no diagnosis, you may be surprised to learn you may be suffering from a salt-hangover. (Really!)
Prevention explains sodium draws fluid out of the arteries, veins, and capillaries. When this happens, the fluid is re-routed to the tissues, where water can be held in the hands, fingers, face, and stomach. Because gravity pulls fluids downwards, the parts of the body most effected are the feet, ankles, and calves. If your calves are swollen, here’s what you need to do to get your body back to a healthy state.
1. Plow Pose: Yoga is wonderful for many reasons. It stretches the muscles, increases flexibility, and gets the fluids moving. By getting your body to essentially flip upside down, Halasana (Plow Pose) helps moves fluid out of the legs. The pose also improves digestion, normalizes blood sugar, and aids weight loss, explains Style Craze. If this pose feels intimidating, try these other poses, aimed at treating water retention, from Gyan Unlimited.
2. Acupressure: The foot, ankle, and calf have several acupressure points connected with the kidneys, which when activated, can help move excess fluids out of the calves. Modern Reflexology recommends stimulating the K6, located on the inside of the ankle, in the hollow of the anklebone. Use your thumb to apply pressure for one minute.
3. Peppermint massage: Mixing a few drops of peppermint essential with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil, and using this homemade massage oil to knead your swollen calves can increase circulation, says Ayurvedic Cure. Other essential oils that may help include grapefruit and mustard oils.
4. Brown rice: A form of vitamin B6 known as pyridoxine is found in brown rice, sweet potato and sunflower seeds. According to Gyan Unlimited, this vitamin is super helpful in relieving water retention.
5. Cook at home: It sounds simple, but according to Prevention, replacing restaurant meals and processed foods, like canned soups and frozen meals, with home cooking is the best solution because it represents a lifestyle change. For starters, ditch the bottled salad dressing and try these six recipes from theKitchn.
6. Parsley: This tasty, powerful herb is a miracle worker for cleansing the kidneys, responsible for filtering salt and other toxins out of the blood stream. Step To Health recommends drinking parsley tea made from a handful of chopped parsley added to a liter of boiling water. Let the tea brew for ten minutes and then drink throughout the day.
7. Three S’s: Spinach, squash, and swiss chard are the Three S’s of potassium, that according to Livestrong, have more than twenty per cent of potassium per cup. Potassium is effective for drawing salt out of the body.
8. Epsom salt: This relaxing home remedy works wonders, especially if swollen calves are particularly painful. Cleveland Clinic recommends soaking your feet and ankles for fifteen to twenty minutes in a cool bath filled with Epsom salts.