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Why Are My Feet Swollen? Unraveling the Causes and Solutions

Swollen feet (edema) can become a concerning foot health problem if you don’t explore ways to manage them. That said, many folks are left in the dark as to why their feet are swelling in the first place. Knowing the causes of swollen feet is the first step towards treatment, and learning solutions and contacting your chiropodist for help is the second step! 

Causes of Swollen Feet

  • Prolonged standing and sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Warm weather
  • Aging
Image Credit: iStock

Prolonged Standing and Sitting

When you stand or sit for extended periods, blood can pool in your lower extremities, especially if your veins are not functioning properly. This can lead to fluid retention and swollen feet and ankles. 

Pregnancy

According to Mayo Clinic, your body retains more fluid during pregnancy and your hormones are thrown out of whack, which both contribute to swollen feet. A growing uterus can also affect your vein and circulation efficiency, causing edema.

Image Credit: iStock

Weight Gain

Weight gain can lead to swollen feet because the additional body weight puts increased pressure on your veins. This pressure can hinder the blood flow back to the heart, causing blood and other fluids to pool in the lower extremities.

Diabetes

Diabetes can wreak havoc on your feet in many ways. When it comes to swelling, high glucose levels can thicken the arteries, which causes them to lose their elasticity. This impairs blood flow to the feet, causing severe fluid retention. 

Warm Weather

Sometimes the humidity we experience in the summer or during a vacation can cause mild foot swelling. This is called heat edema. It occurs when high temperatures cause the blood vessels to expand, which rapidly moves body fluid downward towards the feet.

Aging

Unfortunately, our ability to properly circulate blood throughout our bodies lessens as we age. Like diabetes patients, the arteries can lose their elasticity and efficiency. Other risk factors affecting older people include: age-related hormonal changes, mobility problems that encourage a sedentary lifestyle, and medications that cause side effects like swollen feet.

Image Credit: iStock

Solutions for Swollen Feet

  • Orthopedic Shoes: Many shoes are designed with foot comfort in mind, but orthopedic shoes take it to new heights. They often come with adjustable closures and other features that accommodate swollen feet and prevent foot pain, like extra depth and wide toe boxes
  • Compression Stockings: From pregnant women, to people who stand at work all day, to those who spend a lot of time cooped up in airplanes — compression stockings can help prevent associated foot swelling. Studies show that calf-length compression stockings with a pressure range between 11 and 21 mmHg are the way to go, but this can vary depending on your needs. Please note compression stockings are not recommended for diabetes patients. 
  • Foot Care / Movement: Make sure you get enough movement in your daily life (taking into account disability and mobility troubles, of course!). There are plenty low-impact exercises and stretches that can go a long way for those with a sedentary lifestyle. To fight swelling feet, try exercises that rotate the ankles and move your toes. They may be able to get your muscles pumping and enhance circulation. Light walking can also aid swelling feet. 
  • Diet Changes: Eat nutrient-dense foods low in sugar and salt, and stick to small portions to lose weight. Shedding excess weight can have a direct, positive impact on your swollen feet. Check out the best foods to eat for your foot health.
Nude and black compression stockings. Image Credit: iStock

Looking for Solutions to Your Swollen Feet?

Feet First Clinic can provide compression stockings, orthopedic shoes, and other treatment options for your swollen feet! Say goodbye to discomfort by calling us at (416) 769-3338 or click the button at the top of your browser!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.