15 Best Home Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Swollen feet and ankles can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but there are some wonderful home remedies for this condition that include yoga, grapefruit essential oil, elevation, compression socks, avoiding salty food, parsley, rose, dandelion, massage, and saltwater soaks, among others.

When you have swollen feet and ankles, it can make you uncomfortable and restrict movement. This swelling is also referred to as edema and occurs when your body retains fluid in the lower legs, ankles, and feet due to gravity. Your ankle or foot may double in diameter and shape due to the edema. The condition makes the area puffy and sensitive to the touch. There are many potential causes of this swelling like pregnancy, excess body weight, Achilles’ tendonitis, among others. Certain medications can also reduce blood circulation by increasing the thickness of the blood, causing swelling in the legs. [1]

A doctor should be able to give you a better idea of the fundamental cause behind your swollen feet and ankles, but with the exception of anti-inflammatory medication, there isn’t much that can be directly done in terms of pharmaceutical treatment. Lifestyle changes and natural home remedies are the most important aspect of reducing the swelling in your ankles and feet. With that in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the best home remedies for swollen ankles and feet. [2]

A man's swollen ankle tied up with a black color crepe bandage

Foot, leg, and ankle swelling is also known as peripheral edema, which refers to an accumulation of fluid in these parts of the body. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Home Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles

Home remedies for swollen feet and ankles include:

Decrease Salt Intake

When there is an excess of salt in your diet, your body holds water in much higher concentrations and your desire to urinate will decrease. That excess water is often stored in your ankles and feet, causing the swelling. Cut down on salty foods and watch the swelling disappear! This is also good for your heart health, which may be causing the swelling in the first place. [3]


Gently rubbing the affected area can be a very effective method of eliminating or treating swelling in the ankles and feet. When you firmly massage a part of the body, it increases circulation and relieves inflammation, which is often the culprit behind swollen ankles and feet, particularly if they are caused by an injury or a sprain. [4]


If you elevate your feet, you are essentially having gravity work for you and eliminate the excess water in your feet and ankles. The liquid will slowly drain out, while you are sleeping (pillow under your feet) or relaxing (legs raised higher than your heart), and be absorbed back into the body or eliminated as urine. [5]


Yoga is known to rebalance the body’s metabolism, boost hormone and homeostatic alignment, and improve circulation. It is also a great way to get active without excessive strain, and it improves flexibility. All of these things can help alleviate the symptoms of swollen feet and ankles, and make you even healthier than before! [6]

Compression Socks

These tight-fitting socks essentially prevent liquid from accumulating in your feet and ankles by applying enough pressure and preventing excess room. You can purchase compression socks in most stores, especially maternity stores, as pregnant women commonly get swollen feet and turn to this solution. [7]


One of the best natural diuretics is parsley, and when you are suffering from swollen extremities, it means that you have too much liquid in your body. By increasing urine output and preventing the build-up of liquid, parsley just might be your new favorite herb! [8]


Activity will increase circulation in the body and prevent blood from gathering in the lower extremities. Although swelling isn’t purely from blood, a weak circulatory system isn’t able to effectively pump the blood back up the legs, which results in swelling. Regular jogging or yoga positions that put your legs above your heart are very important for someone treating swollen feet and ankles. [9]

Grapefruit Essential Oil

A very powerful anti-inflammatory substance is grapefruit essential oil and it can be used in a number of ways to prevent swelling in the feet. Either mix it in a warm bath or blend it with carrier oils and rub directly on the swollen areas. There are strong anti-inflammatory compounds in grapefruit essential oil that will reduce swelling. [10]

Salt Baths

Soaking your feet in saltwater, even though salt is one of the main causes of water retention, is actually a great way to reduce swelling. Epsom salt baths are anti-inflammatory and can relieve pain and discomfort, which commonly accompanies swollen feet and ankles. A simple saltwater bath a few times a week can eliminate that swelling in no time. [11]


Being so rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, and potassium, dandelions are great remedies for swollen extremities. They are also some of the most powerful natural diuretics and will help increase your urination rate, thus expelling excess water from the body before it can gather in the feet. [12]


This flower may not look like it, but rose hips are an extremely strong diuretic, and the flowers and leaves also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. This can help treat the causative conditions, and also reduce the swelling in the feet and ankles. [13]

Quitting Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do if you suffer from water retention. It damages your circulatory system and makes it weaker, and thus unable to pump blood as effectively back from the body’s extremities. Smoking is also linked to obesity, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and a number of other causes behind swollen feet and ankles, so cut it out! [14]


An enjoyable and effective exercise to treat swollen ankles and feet is swimming, as there is no impact on the inflamed areas, but the body still gets a workout and boosts the circulatory system. With swollen feet and ankles, jogging can be painful and difficult, but the buoyancy of the water makes it an ideal and pain-free remedy. [15]

Drinking More Water

The cause of your swollen ankles and feet may be excess water, but if your salt content is high, it needs to be properly balanced out and eliminated. Drinking more water can drive urination, and rebalance your blood and fluid levels in the body; water also flushes out toxins and supports overall health.

Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is closely linked to kidney function and health, which is why those who suffer from chronic edema commonly have magnesium deficiencies. You can add high magnesium foods like spinach, nuts, whole grains, fish, and avocados to your diet. [16]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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