Health | Did You Know

10 Simple Ways To Keep Your Ankles From Swelling Up

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The wear and tear of aging does funny things to our bodies.

Our hair falls out, our vision gets blurry, and - if you're as unlucky as me - our ankles start to swell up until our shoes barely fit.

When I told my doctor about this painful condition he advised me to lose weight (how original) but it didn't improve the swelling very much.

I found a few other ways to shrink my ankles back down to size. Hopefully one of these 11 treatments will work in your case:

1. Exercise

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No, I don't expect you to start running marathons. That probably wouldn't help either.

But stretching your ankles will relieve the swelling caused by retaining water.

Another cause of chronic swelling is a fluid buildup called edema, which can be caused by sitting in one position for too long.

Try some stretches at your desk, exercise in a chair, and do gentle workouts like walking or swimming.

2. Epsom Salt

These relaxing bath salts have a lot of hidden uses, but don't overlook the soothing effect of an Epsom salt bath.

The salts relieve swelling from inflamed muscles.

For best results, mix the salt into a cool (but not cold) bath and soak your feet for up to 20 minutes.

3. Check Your Medicine Cabinet

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Talk to your doctor, because a surprising number of medicines cause swollen ankles as a side effect.

Everything from hormones to blood pressure medication, antidepressants and diabetes medication, and even NSAIDs like ibuprofen can make your ankles swell.

Just check with your doctor before you stop or start any new medication.

4. Put Your Feet Up

One of the simplest ways to relieve swelling is to let gravity do the work.

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Elevate your feet during the day using a stool, leg rest, or foot hammock.

At night, put a pillow under your feet, or put a phone book under the front legs of your bed to keep your feet tilted up.

This keeps fluid from swelling into painful spots on your ankles.

5. Drink More Water

Yes, you're probably tired of hearing this, but it really works.

Some people assume that they should drink less water, because swelling is caused by water retention.

But the opposite is true: you need to drink more water so your body won't hold on to it, causing your legs to swell.

6. Buy Compression Socks

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It can be a little embarrassing to be seen in these socks, but they do wonders for your tired leg.

Compression socks with mercury or copper linings protect your ankles by clinging around them tightly.

They also make other treatments like elevation more effective.

Just remember to invest in a pair of comfortable shoes too - pinching your feet only makes swelling worse.

7. Ice Pack

Just like any other kind of painful inflammation, you can treat swollen ankles with an ice pack.

Just take this as your excuse to cozy up on the couch with comfy socks, your feet on a pillow, and a big, cool ice pack.

8. Cut Your Salt Intake

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A diet that's rich in salt just encourages your body to hold on to water, which makes your legs swell.

Potato chips, instant noodles and soups, pasta sauce, and lunch meats are all full of salt.

Your body will thank you for skipping salt, because it can also cause kidney stones.

9. Lose Weight

Yes, I hate hearing this for every medical problem too, but it does tend to work for swollen ankles.

The less extra weight you carry around, the less stress you put on your legs.

Plus, exercise and a healthy diet usually reduces your swelling anyway.

10. Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is a sort of catch-all nutrient that helps do hundreds of tasks inside your body.

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One of the biggest jobs it handles is water retention, so getting more magnesium will help your body control swelling.

As an added bonus, a diet with extra magnesium usually leaves you feeling more energetic.

Just be careful: Taking magnesium supplements can be dangerous if you have a kidney or heart condition.

More Serious Cases

Swelling is usually a side effect of stress and strain, and nothing to worry about.

It's especially common in older patients and pregnant women.

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But it can also be a symptom of more serious blood pressure conditions, including preeclampsia.

If you notice abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, or vision changes along with swelling, see a doctor.

How do you treat your swollen ankles?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com