Water in the legs: what to do with swollen feet?

Water in the legs: what to do with swollen feet?

If the calves are tense and the ankles are swollen on the foot, there is usually water in the legs behind them. Medically, this circumstance is referred to as oedema. Even if swollen feet are uncomfortable and painful, the cause of water in the legs is usually harmless. Warm temperatures or lack of exercise are often to blame for swollen ankles. In rare cases, diseases can also be behind it. We will tell you about the causes of water in your legs and show you simple tips on how to get rid of swollen legs.

Causes of water in the legs

Several factors cause water to build up in the legs. If you frequently suffer from swollen feet due to water in your legs, it is worth looking at the causes. This way, you can do something about it and prevent future oedema.

Causes of water in the legs:

  • long-standing
  • a lot of sitting in the office and home office
  • little movement
  • Heat in summer or overheated rooms
  • kidney diseases
  • cardiac insufficiency
  • hormonal fluctuations
  • side effects of medication
  • salty foods and meals

How do swollen feet develop?

When the delicate branches of the blood vessels (capillaries) allow water to seep into the tissue, oedema develops. Due to increased pressure in the blood vessels, the water cannot flow back into the blood. There is now a lack of water, which the kidneys try to compensate for by retaining more water. As a result, swellings form in the affected tissue, and water in the legs.

Usually, water in the legs disappears on its own. If the legs swell very suddenly and there is also pain or a feeling of heat in the legs, a doctor should be consulted. This also applies if you have a fever, shortness of breath or chest pain.

On the other hand, if there are no other symptoms, swollen feet can be relieved with water in the legs with simple measures. The following pictures show you what these are.

Put your feet up if your feet are swollen.

If you have water in your legs, it helps if you put your feet up as often as possible. This relieves the blood vessels and takes the pressure off them. In this way, the water can be removed from the tissue again, and the swelling of the feet decreases again. If you sit a lot during the day or when the temperature is warm, you should put your feet on the sofa in the evening while watching TV or reading.

Sport with water in the legs

Exercise and physical training also get the valves in the leg veins going. This can eliminate fluid build-up in the legs. Regular exercise can also prevent venous insufficiency or varicose veins from developing. Sports in which the legs are in motion, such as cycling and swimming, are well suited. This is an excellent way to relieve discomfort caused by water in your legs or even prevent swollen feet.

Kneipp cure for swollen feet

A Kneipp cure with cold water can help with swollen feet caused by water in the legs. First, run the cold water jet on the right leg from the little toe on the outside up to the hollow of the knee. Once there, sweep the beam back and forth three times. Then, let it travel down the inside of the right leg back down to the toes. Then switch to the left leg and guide the water jet there, analogously to the right leg, from the left little toe up to the back of the knee and repeat the procedure.

If you perform the knee affusion daily, according to Kneipp, you strengthen your veins long-term and prevent renewed water retention in the legs.

Contrast showers with water in the legs

An excellent alternative to the Kneipp cure for water in the legs is contrast showers. Especially since you can do this at home, in the hotel, swimming pool, or sauna. In principle, contrast showers work like knee affusions, according to Kneipp. In the shower or bath, alternately run lukewarm and cold water over your legs several times. Start at the bottom of your ankles and work up to the back of your knees with a jet of water. Always end the contrast showers with cold water. Then pat your legs dry and, ideally, put your legs up a little.

Brew from walnut tree leaves.

If you have water in your legs, you can rely on the power of nature: a brew made from the walnut tree leaves reduces swelling in your feet. For the brew, you need about 500 grams of leaves. Please put this in four litres of cold water and slowly bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, then strain the walnut tree leaves. Allow the brew to cool until it is just lukewarm. Then wash your legs with the walnut stock and rinse them off with cold water. Don’t be surprised if your legs are a bit darker after use: the brew from the leaves can discolour the skin for a short time.

Juniper tea against water in the legs

You probably know juniper berries as a basis for gin or refining hearty kitchen dishes. But the berries can do even more: juniper berries can relieve symptoms caused by water in the legs. They have a draining effect you can use with freshly brewed tea. To do this:

  1. Take about a teaspoon of juniper berries and crush them in a cup so that the juice from the berries comes out.
  2. Drink a dehydrating tea made from juniper berries.
  3. Pour 250 millilitres of boiling water and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the juniper berries and drink the slightly cooled tea.

Walking barefoot helps

Walking barefoot is a real treat for your feet! This works more muscles in the foot, promoting the elimination of accumulated water in the legs and ultimately getting the blood flow going. If the feet are in shoes, on the other hand, significantly fewer muscles are required and trained. Therefore, walk barefoot as often as possible – in summer, for example, do without slippers at home or walk on the beach or in a meadow without shoes.

Loose clothing if there is water in your legs

If the temperatures are warm outside, you should opt for loose and loose-fitting clothing. This does not only apply to the legs: water in the legs does not only occur when you wear tight pants and socks with constricting cuffs – it also depends on the heat load on the entire body. Tight clothing causes heat to build up on the skin and cannot be released to the outside. On the other hand, other clothing, preferably made of cotton or linen, allows the skin to exchange air with the environment. Less heat accumulates in the body, and the blood vessels are relieved.

Salt sparingly

Salt is an essential component in the regulation of blood pressure. Salt also binds fluid in the body. So, if you eat a low-salt diet, you reduce your risk of water in your legs. Avoid highly salted foods and snacks such as sausage, chips or pretzel sticks if possible. You can also approach it slowly: gradually season your food with less salt until you get used to it. You will see, over time, you will need less and less salt in your food – without losing taste.

In addition, plan a salt-free day from time to time. This allows you to drain your body, which helps against watery legs and swollen feet. For example, eat rice or pasta that day without salting the cooking water. Herbal tea and tap water help with drainage.

Foot exercises for swollen feet

If you tend to have water in your legs, a daily session of foot exercises can help. Step on your toes, then on your heels – pull your toes up toward your shins. Then rock your feet up and down several times and ideally straighten your knees. The movement activates the muscle pump in the calves and ensures fluid evacuation in the legs.


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