Leg pain is not just an annoying period of discomfort. Because they usually occur at night, they can wake you up and disrupt much-needed rest and sleep.
A variety of causes, from stress to neurological disorders to circulatory disorders, can aggravate the problem of swollen feet. There are also idiopathic causes, which means the cause is unknown.
But just because it’s common and has many causes doesn’t mean there aren’t good prevention and treatment options. Matthew Goldman, M.D., of family medicine, guides us through the best options and recommends avoiding some.
Prevents leg swelling
Although you can’t completely prevent foot swelling, you can certainly take steps to reduce your risk of developing some of the more common causes of aches and pains.
Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of leg and muscle cramps in general. Dr. Goldman says you should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, but he recommends increasing your intake if you’re active, especially outdoors.
In general, the main goal is to keep the urine clean. If your urine is yellow, orange, or orange in color, this is a sign that you are dehydrated and need to increase your water intake.
Another way to avoid dehydration is to limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
If you are concerned about urine color and/or dehydration, talk to your provider.
Stress and other parts of exercise can contribute to swollen feet, but there are ways to combat it.
First of all, Goldman says, make sure your shoes fit and support your feet properly. Choosing the right running shoes can have a huge impact on your body, whether you have a high or low arch, the type of sole in your shoe, or your stability needs.
Next, make sure you’re stretching properly before and after your workout. Stretching exercises, especially dynamic stretching, help warm up and prepare the muscles for whatever activity you are about to do, and proper stretching can help prevent muscle stiffness during and after exercise.
One stretch, in particular, prevents the calf muscles from stretching. Standing three feet from a wall, lean forward and touch the wall with outstretched arms, but keep your legs straight. Relax in this position for a count of five. Repeat this stretch three times a day for five minutes.
Getting ready for bed
Finally, since it happens at night, there are a few things you can do before bed to prevent swollen feet. Dr. Goldman recommends stretching your legs or doing light exercises before bed, such as walking or riding a sport bike.
But there are also things you can do to help your sleep, such as adjusting your sleeping position. If you sleep on your back, try to support your toes with a pillow. If you sleep on your stomach, try dangling your legs over the end of your bed. These two positions will help keep you in a state of relaxation while you sleep, he adds.
Home remedies for leg pain
Swollen legs are annoying and often painful, so they should be removed as soon as possible. Although there is no guarantee that leg cramps will stop immediately, there are several ways to relieve the pain.
Stretching and other exercises
One easy way to relieve leg pain is to stretch. Dr. Goldman recommends one stretch: While standing (or sitting with your legs spread out in front of you), raise your legs until your legs are straight, point your toes toward your shins, then pull your toes up or, if possible, a towel. . Help if you can’t reach.
Other activities like walking and moving your legs can help relieve these spasms. Also, try massaging tight muscles with your hands or rollers. Finally, to stretch your muscles, try standing and pressing your feet into the floor.
hot and cold
According to Dr. Goldman, large temperature changes can help with muscle stiffness. In addition to stretching, warming up tight muscles with a heating pad or a warm bath can help loosen muscles and increase blood flow.
Conversely, ice packs can help relieve pain while you wait for the leg cramps to subside. Wrap the ice in a towel or other material to prevent direct contact with the skin.
Prescription pain relievers do not provide immediate pain relief, but ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve pain associated with cramps. Talk to your provider first about whether these medications are safe for you.