20 Aug How to get rid of fluid retention in fingers & toes
When the thermometer soars, many of us suffer from heat-related bloating and look for the best ways to get rid of fluid retention.
For some people, the biggest problem is a swollen stomach, for others, it’s tender, puffy ankles. But for many, it’s water retention in hands and feet that cause the biggest problem, with fingers that look like sausages and toes that just won’t fit into dainty summer shoes!
Symptoms can often become worse after sitting for long periods – particularly if you are one of the lucky ones who have managed to fly off somewhere for a break this summer.
Should I worry about fluid retention?
Most of the time, water retention is nothing to worry about – it’s very common to suffer from a slight swelling in toes and fingers during hot weather.
However, you should see your GP or a health professional if you have puffy hands and fingers, but there’s no swelling in your ankles, or if you feel as if you can’t grip things as well as usual. It’s also a good idea to get checked out if puffiness lasts for more than a week after you’ve taken steps to address it, or if it is in one foot or leg only. It’s a wise precaution to rule out causes such as allergic reactions, injury, infection or another underlying health issue.
Once you are sure that the puffiness in your toes and fingers is just down to a touch of seasonal fluid retention, you can start to do something about this irritating and unsightly problem.
- Wiggle those fingers and toes
When fingers become puffy, the skin feels tight and our natural reaction is often not to do much with our hands. However, a little exercise will help to improve your blood circulation and should improve puffiness.
Gently pull each finger away from its neighbour (don’t force it!) starting with your little finger, then your little fingers and ring fingers together, then your little finger, ring finger and middle finger. Repeat a couple of times. Then pinch each finger in turn to your thumb as if you were pinching someone. If you can do this whilst walking down the road or around the park, you will greatly improve your circulation and enable your lymph system to drain more efficiently.
- Massage your feet and hands (or even better, get someone to do it for you!)
If you’re lucky enough to have someone willing to massage your feet, you could use reflexology-style techniques to help relieve bloating. There’s a straightforward video on Youtube here.
You can massage your hands quite easily. Make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed and starting at the wrist and gently but firmly pressing and sliding your opposite thumb up across the palm to the tip of each finger and thumb in turn. Repeat this for at least ten minutes a day until the bloating has gone down. Give your hands a gentle shake when you have finished to boost blood flow.
- Cut down your salt
Fruits and vegetables with a high water content are great as a way of increasing your fluid intake and helping to flush away unwanted water retention. However, it can be really tempting to add plenty of salt to salad foods such as tomatoes and cucumber, which can significantly contribute to water retention.
Try to cut out as much as possible by choosing fresh foods that don’t have hidden salt, and adding as little as possible to fresh foods. If you really can’t kick the habit completely, choose low-iodine or pink Himalayan salt to keep iodine levels in check.
- Get your feet or hands higher than your head
If fluid retention in your ankles is the biggest problem, try to spend 20 or 30 minutes a day with your feet higher than your head. A long sofa is ideal so you can lie flat with your feet up on the arm at one end. Alternatively, lie on the floor with your feet up on the seat of the sofa while you relax.
For swollen fingers, put your hands with palms together above your head and hold them there for 15 – 20 minutes. Provided you don’t feel any stiffness or discomfort in your neck or shoulders, you can gently lift your hands up and down slowly to help the fluid to drain away more quickly.
- Take a licensed herbal medicine
HRI Water Balance is a licensed traditional herbal medicine designed to relieve symptoms of mild water retention and helps thousands of people combat seasonal water retention every year. The active ingredients are Dandelion leaf and root, which are powerful diuretics, and extracts of Uva-ursi leaf and Buchu leaf to help with inflammation.
You should ensure that you drink plenty of water or other clear fluids whilst taking the medicine to help flush out the unwanted fluid.
Follow these few simple steps and soon you’ll be able to wear your pretty rings and strappiest sandals, no matter what the temperature!
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