It’s raining or pouring? Snowing? Windy? Or it’s simply bloody cold. At times like these hands and feet tend to get really cold and after a while they can start to swell. My toes decided to morph into cocktail sausage lookalikes which have prevented me from walking much today so here are a few tips that worked for me:
1. Don’t wait, leaving it and hoping/thinking it will get better by itself and not wanting to face it because, and in truth, there are so many other things to do/think about. I’m saying that because I do that a fair bit and sometimes the situation goes from annoying to quite distracting to the toes saying “That’s it! Dolly, deal with us now, we are not standing for this any more!” Which is what happened yesterday after a week of itching, tickling/tingling, being swollen but still walkable to being quite distracting on and off to the “That’s it!” point. Luckily it was in the evening as all of a sudden they got painful and hot and it was a mad dash for the things I needed as I knew I’d be sitting down for a while.
2. Traditional Epsom salt soak – approx 1/4 cup to a bowl of warm water, soak footsies for approx 25min. I actually soaked them for an hour as unfortunately I had to keep topping up the water (and used about 1/2 a cup of salt by the end) because the water kept going cold after a few minutes. After soaking, remember to gently remove any dead skin before tip 3.
3. Tea Tree oil and/or Lavender Oil gently applied over the feet. Remember not to use essential oil unless it’s been blended with a base oil.
4. If the swelling hasn’t gone down after the above (and it didn’t for me) – Neem oil mixed with a bit turmeric to make a paste and gently applied like a masque – obviously have to be prepared to sit down for a while with feet up for this one so have everything you need beside you first. I left it on until it completely dried, gently wiped off with a damp cloth and then applied some neem oil by itself. NOTE – turmeric is used as a colouring because it stains Yellow/Orange so the skin can change colour with this but it does wash off after 1-3 washes lol, use cool to warm water and a gentle/mild soap if you want and a towel/cloth that you don’t mind staining.
5. Warm to cool. When my feet are really swollen the worst bits ‘change their mind’ as to what they prefer, they’ll feel soothed for a while in a warm situation and then get irritated and will settle down a bit if moved to a cool environment. This pattern tends to happen when they are really swollen and continues for a while until the swelling goes down a bit. (I find the same happens with bruising as well.) This obviously means covering them lightly with a blanket (I tend to bend the blanket/duvet to form a cave so that the fabric isn’t touching the skin) for a while and then moving them out of the blanket, ongoing. For those ok with using heating if available, you can have them near a warm heater for a while, then move them, put them back, move them etc as necessary. I sleep sitting up at this point as they’re sore and don’t want fabrics rubbing them.
5. Hot water bottle – except not hot morelike warm-hot, or in a bag/carrier. When the feet are feeling slightly mollified I find they like a hot water bottle placed near them (lower legs, ankles) and sometimes on them.
6. Once the hot water bottle stage is reached pressure tends to help as well so I find sitting crossed legged helps.
7. When going out or just being unable to go barefoot indoors don’t aggravate the skin with rough fabrics. When my feet are swollen/sore they are very sensitive and the slightest touch of fabric irritates them/increases itchiness regardless of whether it’s cool cotton or something ‘furry’. So socks that are super soft or super smooth can help as a barrier for a while from rougher textures but bear in mind how breathable they are. I have some filmy thin, soft bandage that I wrap around my feet before putting anything else on. It’s best to just rest though if possible.
I’m no stranger to inflammation and swelling as I’ve had sore knees, regular jaw flame-ups and rsi in my fingers since I was 18, a bad hip since I was 23 and bad lower back since 27 as well as breathing/congestion (consistently blocked nose/throat) which involves inflamed breathing passages since 15. Hence I’ve tried lots of techniques from natural ointments akin to ‘deep heat’ to placing and holding raw garlic cloves in my jaw/back of the mouth behind the molars for upto two hours refreshing the garlic each half hour. I don’t mind putting ice on swollen parts of the body in general but I don’t use it on the extremities (hands/feet) where thousands and thousands of nerve endings are.
Happy feet are better feet 😀 !