What can you do for your swollen feet?

Do your shoes feel smaller for a number after few hours of walking or standing? How often does that happen?

Swollen feet are not a disease, but they make you feel uncomfortable. There are many causes like:

  • standing or walking (usually over some time period that varies from person to person)
  • the normal swelling that most pregnant women experience during pregnancy
  • any trauma to the foot or ankle (usually sprains or fractures) can result in swelling
  • as side effect of some medication or heart disease, liver disease or kidney disease.

Emergent and urgent treatment is infrequent for foot or ankle swelling itself, but does occur for certain underlying causes where feet and ankle swelling or localized swelling is an important symptom and sometimes the major symptom. So if you experience painful swelling of the big toe, accompanied with redness, if you have chest pain or shortness of breath or any other irregularity, please contact your doctor.

Otherwise this is what you can do:

  • elevate the swollen extremity slightly above the level of the heart. Lie down face up on a bed or couch, and then place pillows under the heels so the feet and ankles so they are higher than the your chest.
  • Sitting on a plane seat or on the office chair (or for hours at a time anywhere!) may cause lower extremity swelling. Periodic leg muscle movement or occasionally walking will help.

Because there are so many underlying causes of feet and ankle swelling, there are numerous ways to avoid or reduce the chances for their development:

  • Exercise to improve circulation and fluid distribution
  • Eat a healthy diet; too much salt may cause fluid retention, hypertension and swelling
  • Interrupt sitting or standing several times a day and elevate the feet and ankles above the heart
  • Lose excess weight to retain less fluid and decrease pressure on muscles and joints
  • Examine prescription and other medications; consult with the doctor if medication may be responsible for fluid retention
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and other substances that can lead to underlying causes of swelling.

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