For swelling that is generalized throughout the body or the swelling of both ankles or legs, see Oedema and Fluid Retention. The swelling of one part of the body, such as a leg, arm, hand or foot, may be due to lymphatic obstruction caused by a trauma, inflamed or infected lymph glands or tumours blocking lymphatic flow. All of these conditions need to be reviewed independently once a cause is established.

A swelling caused by an injury or infection represents the body’s attempt to splint, immobilize and repair the area. The site of a swelling is also a warning to the conscious mind that protection is necessary and a similar injury-causing event should be avoided.

Damaged tissue sends a nervous reflex to the spinal column that returns instructions to the surrounding blood vessels to open up and flood the area with more nutrition, oxygen, white blood cells and scar-forming cells. Blood vessels are also encouraged to open by the release of certain chemicals from injured cells.

In principle, the body should be allowed to get on with its healing but swelling does apply pressure to nerves and, like inflammation, causes pain. Reduction of swelling will occur automatically as soon as the injured area is given support and this can be encouraged by applying pressure to the lymphatic and venous flow, thus taking fluid from the area.


Application of ice in a cloth may relieve swelling.

Ensure that the injured area is immobilized if a joint is involved, has pressure applied to it through bandaging and is rested.

The homeopathic remedy Arnica 6 should be taken every hour for three doses and then every 3hr until a more suitable remedy is chosen on the basis of the specifics of the injury. An accurate remedy should be chosen from your preferred homeopathic manual.

Rub in an Arnica-based cream three or four times a day.

Massage, paying special attention to moving fluid towards the heart; any physical therapy technique will benefit.