At one time, Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, was part of a doctor's medical arsenal and commonly found in households. Some used it as a digestive remedy, but today if Epsom salt is not being used in the home garden, it is being used in bath water.
The University of Maryland Medical Center says a half-cup of Epsom salt added to a tub of warm water allows circulation to increase in the feet and relieves minor pain (see Reference 2).
Swelling and Inflammation
The Epsom Salt Council suggests magnesium is the key ingredient in reducing swelling and inflammation in joints and muscles (see Reference 3).
For fungal infections, James Mahoney of the Department of Podiatric Medicine at the Des Moines University Clinic recommends an Epsom salt and cold water soak followed by application of an antifungal cream (see Reference 1).
After the Vandenbos procedure is done on the toes to remove excess skin, an Epsom salt and warm water soak is prescribed two days after the operation. Epsom salt assists in soaking away old dressings so that new dressings can be applied (see Reference 2).
The Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Rochester Medical Center warns diabetics or patients with dry or tender skin not to soak their feet in Epsom salt baths, which tend to dry out the skin (see Resource 1).