Why do I have swollen feet?
What are some tips to help with foot or ankle swelling?
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We all may have experienced it or seen it. Swelling. When you get that puffiness around the bottom of your ankle or throughout your foot, you begin to wonder how you got to this point. There are numerous reasons a person can have swelling ( or in medical terms: Edema) and we are here to discuss a few.
What is Edema?
Edema is swelling due to accumulation of fluid in the tissues. It can be caused by a number of factors, including a lack of fluid intake, excessive fluid intake, and inflammation. There will always be a number of reasons as to why a persons body can react a certain way. While usually it has to do with your activities or diet intake, there may be situations that require you to see a doctor and get a proper diagnoses and treatment.
Since I am not a doctor, I’m not here to scare people with a long list of things that could be related to edema or swelling. I simply want to point out my situation and what others could do to help themselves.
I’ll occasionally get swollen ankles and not know how or why I got them. I am overweight and I have an underlying medical condition that I take medication for. Those are already 2 things that could lead to why my ankles are swollen. On top of that, when the weather changes and it begins to get hot outside, I notice my ankles and feet begin to swell. I notice more-so when I try to put on my shoes.
So, what did I do? I went to see my doctor to make sure nothing else was going on. I had never heard that your ankles could swell in the heat, but here we are. He gave me some advice and prescribed medication and I was on my way. I am not a fan of taking any extra medications, but I wouldn’t be on it that long and hopefully, the other things he told me to do would help also.
Signs of Edema or swelling
There are many signs of edema, but some of the most common are:
- Swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands (can occur in many other parts of the body)
- Increased fluid retention
- Pain at site of swelling
- Shiny skin at site
- Dimple in skin when squeezed
- Stretched skin
While you should be speaking with your doctor anyway, it is vitally important to see them if you also have trouble breathing, chest pain, or having a hard time breathing accompanied with the symptoms above.
I am going to stick to the the basics here. Some of the simpler and most common reasons for swelling are:
- Too much salt in diet
- Overuse of limb (walking all day, repetitive hand movements, etc…)
- Sitting or standing for an extended period of time
- Being Pregnant
- Injury (ankle sprain)
There are more serious reasons such as the types of medications you take like blood pressure or diabetes medications. And there could be underlying illnesses such as heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease, problems with your veins. Like we’ve been saying though make sure to discuss any new issues with your physician to make sure there is nothing more going on.
How to Treat Edema
There are easy ways to treat swelling if nothing else is going on:
- Rest: This is important if you overuse your legs and feet a lot. Make sure to take a rest when able to.
- Ice: Also very important. Blood is continuously circulating in your body, but ice can help constrict the blood vessels and decrease swelling.
- Elevate: Having the your legs or feet raised above your heart level is a great way to reduce swelling. Just like everything else, gravity plays its part in swelling, so keep them up!
- Compression socks: Depending on the situation, these socks or stockings can help reduce swelling. They help improve circulation.
Those were some simple solutions you could try on your own, but your doctor may run tests to come to a more concrete solution and answer which could involve medications, blood work, and imaging. Trust your gut and get help when needed.
Hopefully, this helped answer a few questions as to what to do for swelling. We know it can happen anywhere on the body, but this post is mostly detailing foot and ankle care!
Just an FYI, I Got Toes is for informational purposes only and are not doctors. We ask that you get the proper medical advice from your physicians.