You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’. This is a metaphor, but in fact, there is a lot of truth to it. Your body uses the energy and nutrients from your diet to repair tissue damage, proliferate cells, boost immune function, reduce inflammation, flush out toxins, and a whole list of other vital biological processes.
A processed, nutrient-poor diet, like the standard American diet, is linked to elevated inflammation and inflammatory conditions, frequent illness, a higher risk of disease, and low energy levels. Thus, improving your diet can help to alleviate a number of preventable health conditions. For example, foot pain or foot swelling.
If you are suffering with foot pain or swelling, here are some top holistic tips for foot wellness, to enjoy some relief. Let’s get started!
Why does foot pain and swelling occur?
Here are some of the most common causes of foot pain and foot swelling.1. Wearing the wrong footwear
Often, foot pain or swelling happens when the foot isn’t properly supported. That might involve wearing flimsy flip flops, tennis shoes during a run, or improper arch support. According to a recent study, 3 in every 5 people are wearing the wrong type of shoe for their specific foot concerns.
When your feet aren’t supported, you can run (excuse the pun) into some serious issues. Foot injuries account for 60,000 Americans unable to work, and are associated with severe pain, swelling, and discomfort.
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2. Inflammatory diet
As mentioned, a highly processed diet causes inflammation. Unfortunately, in the US today, this is the diet that the majority of Americans are consuming.
Inflammation causes tissues to swell, which presses against nerve endings, causing pain. Inflammation is also responsible for conditions like arthritis and plantar fasciitis, the two most common conditions characterized by foot pain.
3. Fluid retention
Inflammation can also lead to fluid retention, as can a high-sodium diet, thyroid conditions, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, or medications.
When the lymph nodes are unable to pass fluid through the body, it is retained, which can cause swelling, puffiness, and pain. One of the most common areas being the feet.
How to reduce foot pain and swelling holistically
Here are some of the top holistic methods to reduce foot pain and swelling naturally.
1. Eat more antioxidantsAntioxidants are compounds that fight free radical damage, oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Studies show that antioxidant consumption is inversely correlated with markers of inflammation. As you may guess: less inflammation means less inflammatory conditions like arthritis or plantar fasciitis, and less foot pain or swelling.
Any food that is naturally orange, purple, red or blue are often antioxidants. For example, turmeric, oranges, beetroot, kale, or berries. A study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that amongst nearly 40,000 women, those who consumed the most berries had 14 percent lower levels of inflammation.
2. Cut out inflammatory foods
Cutting this out of your diet will help to reduce the amount of inflammation you are causing in your body, which over time, can help to reduce foot pain or swelling.
3. Drink more water
This is one of the easiest tips to reduce foot swelling specifically. As mentioned, fluid retention is the common cause of foot swelling. Ironically, consuming too little fluid in your day can cause fluid retention. Research shows that when you are dehydrated your kidney triggers you to retain more water in your cells, causing swelling and bloat.
Ensuring that you drink plenty of water throughout the day (between 11.5-15.5 cups for men and women respectively) will help to regulate your fluid levels and minimize foot swelling.
4. Wear insoles
If your feet aren’t supported, they can’t support you! Support your feet by inserting custom insoles into your shoes that:
- Provide necessary arch support
- Stabilize your heel
- Absorb shock
- Reduce the pressure and loading of the plantar fascia
- Decrease foot fatigue
- Support dynamic and healthy range of motions
Using your custom insoles everyday promotes foot wellness and minimizes pain or swelling. To get your custom insoles, please click here to visit FitMyFoot.com.
5. Consume natural pain relievers
Did you know that certain foods are natural analgesics? This means they inhibit pain enzymes, just as a medication like aspirin or naproxen would. Examples of natural pain relievers include ginger, cherries, salmon, virgin olive oil, and pumpkin seeds.
Consuming at least two portions of natural analgesics per day can help to alleviate the problem at the source: by fighting inflammation, and minimizing the neural signaling that triggers the feeling of pain.
6. Epsom salts bath
Epsom salt - magnesium sulfate - reduces swelling and inflammation in the body. Adding salts to your bath is a powerful treatment for foot swelling or pain. Not only is a bath a great way to relax, and thus can help to alleviate pain; the epsom salts are backed by science as a way to reduce swelling.
The mineral compounds in the salt are absorbed through the skin, providing magnesium and sulfate, which fights inflammation and improves fluid balance, thus reducing swelling.. In fact, many foot health experts recommend epsom salt baths for a number of foot conditions like fungal infections, splinters, pain, calluses and cracked, dry skin.
There are many causes of foot pain and swelling, so it’s important to speak to a professional to get personal advice. However, these holistic and natural tips can be implemented alongside any conventional podiatric plan or in isolation. Inflammation and improper foot support are all too common, and the main culprits of foot pain and swelling. Luckily, there are easy dietary and lifestyle adjustments you can make to alleviate this, and feel like yourself again.