How to Stop Feet Swelling in Hot Weather

Oct 30, 2023

As the mercury rises and we head into a hot Australian summer, so too does a common and uncomfortable problem: feet swelling.

If you've ever spent a long day walking around in the heat only to find your feet have doubled in size, you're not alone! Read on to find out how to combat feet swelling in the hot weather and get some much-needed relief this summer.

Why Do Feet And Ankles Swell In Hot Weather?

Your feet can swell for various reasons, one of the main ones though is dehydration, which can cause the body to retain water and thereby exacerbate swelling in the extremities (like your feet!) When we become dehydrated, our bodies strive to preserve as much fluid as possible, leading to an accumulation of water in our tissues.

As well as dehydration, prolonged periods of standing or sitting, particularly in high temperatures, can intensify pressure within the veins of the legs and feet. This increased pressure can reduce blood circulation and result in fluid buildup and subsequent swelling. So for individuals who spend long hours on their feet or in extended periods of sedentary activity under scorching conditions, you need to take extra care.

Finally, certain medical conditions may also contribute significantly to swollen feet during hot weather. Conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease have been associated with foot swelling.

What Happens In Your Body When Your Feet Swell

Feet swelling, medically known as edema, is basically when too much fluid accumulates in the tissues of your feet either due to poor circulation or increased pressure in blood vessels. The heat exacerbates this problem because it causes the body to retain more water and salt, which can lead to fluid accumulation and, thus, swelling.

How To Avoid Your Feet Swelling In Your Hot Weather

Thankfully, there are several strategies you can employ to prevent or reduce feet swelling: 

  • Avoid the heat when possible: If your feet tend to swell in warm weather, attempt to keep yourself cool. 

To do this:

Sit in shaded areas or stay in air-conditioned rooms whenever possible.

Use a small fan to keep cool.

Apply a cooling foot spray.

Avoid overly hot baths, showers, and saunas.

At the end of a shower, blast your legs with cold water to boost circulation.

  • Be mindful of what you eat: To minimise the chance of swollen feet and ankles, opt for lower-sodium foods like sauces, chips, smoked meats, and soups. Also, try to steer clear of highly processed food which usually have a high salt content.
  • Increase Water Intake: It may seem counterintuitive, but drinking more water can actually help prevent swelling by keeping your body hydrated and helping it flush out excess salt.
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing comfortable shoes that provide good support and are made of breathable material can go a long way in preventing swollen feet.
  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular exercise like walking, swimming, or cycling can improve blood circulation and prevent fluid accumulation in your feet.
  • Elevation: Whenever possible, elevate your feet above the level of your heart. This helps reduce pressure on the veins in your legs and feet and promotes fluid drainage.
  • Introduce Magnesium: Consider taking a daily dose of magnesium as a supplement of 200 mg can help maintain hydration levels which will help mitigate any swelling. Speak to your doctor or podiatrist first though if you have any underlying health issues

5 Tips To Ease Feet & Ankle Swelling In Summer

In addition to these preventative strategies, several natural remedies can help reduce feet swelling:

  1. Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to swollen areas can help reduce inflammation and swelling by constricting blood vessels.
  2. Epsom Salt Soak: Soaking your feet in a tub of warm water mixed with Epsom salts can provide relief. The magnesium in Epsom salts is absorbed through the skin and helps reduce swelling and discomfort.
  3. Massage: Massaging your feet and ankles is an effective solution for decreasing swelling. If you'd like to try it, begin in a gentle, circular motion, beginning at the feet and working your way up towards the knees. An alternative option is to ask someone else to massage them for you, as this helps to avoid any restriction of blood flow due to bending your knees.
  4. Essential Oils: Certain essential oils, like lavender and peppermint, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil and apply to the affected area.
  5. Horse Chestnut Extract: This natural remedy has been shown to help some people with swollen feet and ankles, it can be taken in tablet or liquid form, but you can also find it in a soothing gel and apply it directly to your affected areas.

When to Seek Medical Help

While most cases of swollen feet are harmless and temporary, sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious health condition. If you notice severe or persistent swelling, pain, redness, or heat in the affected area, you should contact your doctor or podiatrist immediately.

Final Words

Feet swelling in hot weather is a common problem, but with the right strategies and remedies, it is manageable. Remember to try and stay hydrated, choose suitable footwear, exercise regularly, elevate your feet when possible, and use natural remedies like cold compresses. Play around with which methods provide you with the most relief and you could significantly reduce your discomfort.

Finally, remember to monitor your progress and seek medical help if your symptoms persist or worsen. For long-term relief, you might want to speak to a member of our team here at Dan Everson Podiatry. We are a team of experienced podiatrists with clinics in Caloundra, Taringa, Deception Bay, Maroochydore, Nambour, and Noosa. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment at one of our podiatry clinics, then simply contact us today.