Have you been experiencing swollen feet or ankles lately? Your hardworking feet may swell up and feel painful because of fluid retention, which can be caused by harmless everyday activities. Sometimes, however, swollen feet and ankles can be a sign of something potentially dangerous. Learn about the 9 reasons why your feet and ankles can become swollen and what you should do about it:
You’re on Your Feet All Day
If your job requires you to be standing or moving throughout most of the day, you may experience swollen feet on a frequent basis. Additionally, people who exercise vigorously or participate in sports may experience swelling in their feet. If this applies to you, here are some pro-tips: at the end of your busy day, soak your feet in cool water, rehydrate, and elevate your tired legs. A little bit of pampering will go a long way to keeping your feet healthy and happy!
Carrying extra weight on your frame adds pressure to all parts of your body, including your feet and ankles. Standing, walking, and exercising can all put additional strain on your feet when you’re overweight, which can lead to swelling. If you haven’t already, set some weight loss goals and work toward them in a healthy way. Even losing 5% of your body weight can make a huge difference!
If you’re expecting soon and have noticed that your feet have been more swollen, don’t worry. Mildly swollen feet and ankles are usually a normal part of pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Just keep an eye out if the swelling becomes excessive or doesn’t go down after you prop up your feet. If this is the case or if you’re also experiencing stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or headaches, you’ll need to make an appointment with your doctor right away since you could be experiencing preeclampsia.
You Have a Foot or Ankle Injury
This is one of the most common reasons why our patients visit us for swollen feet. Even if you’re not experiencing any noticeable pain or discomfort, an injury, sprain, or any type of trauma to the foot or ankle can cause swelling. Sudden swelling can spring up for a variety of reasons, including sprains, strains, and fractured bones. Remember to “PRINCE” – protect your feet, rest, and use ice, NSAIDs, compression, and elevation to accelerate your healing. If the swelling doesn’t go down or is accompanied with severe pain or difficulty walking, call your podiatrist immediately.
You’re Consuming Too Much Salt
That’s right, even a diet high in salt can lead to edema – swelling caused by fluid retention – in your feet and ankles. Take a close look at your diet and see if you’ve been consuming too much salt. Cut back on sodium and do your best to eat a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein each day.
You’re Taking Certain Medications
Various medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, can cause swelling. If you’re taking certain antidepressants, steroids, hormone replacement therapies, or blood pressure medications, it’s possible that you may experience swollen feet or ankles as a side effect from any of these medications.
You Have Decreased Blood Circulation
When arteries and blood vessels become restricted, your extremities can see more fluid retention, particularly your feet and ankles. This is especially true if you smoke or regularly drink alcohol. If you do smoke, we advise you to talk to your doctor and take steps to quit as soon as possible. Your lungs, heart, and feet will thank you!
You Could Be Suffering From Organ Disease
Various diseases, including heart, kidney, liver, and lung disease, can all contribute to swollen feet and ankles. Keep an eye out for swollen feet at night, unexplained changes in your weight, a loss of appetite, and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, please consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
You May Have a Blood Clot
A blood clot in the leg, also known as deep-vein thrombosis, should never be ignored. It’s a serious medical problem that can lead to dire consequences. Blood clots can stop blood from flowing through your legs and back to your heart, which may result in swollen ankles, feet, and legs. Should you notice that any swelling is accompanied by leg pain, fever, color changes in your leg, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness, go to the emergency room right away. This can be a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention!
Rely on the Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center If your feet and ankles are swollen for more than a few days after resting, elevating, and icing, and you experience headaches, fever, and pain, don’t ignore your symptoms. Call the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! Our doctors will provide a thorough evaluation to help determine the cause and set up the right treatment plan for you. Don’t hesitate – reach out today by calling (314) 487-9300 or request an appointment with us online!