Why Do Our Feet Swell?
Our feet are complex structures, made up of 28 bones, 30 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. When they swell, the regular function of these tissues can be affected, so it’s important to understand what’s causing the swelling. Today, we’re sharing the most common reasons for swollen feet we see in clinic and what you can do to help.
1. From Foot Injury
When we damage our joints, muscles, ligaments or bones, swelling can occur. This swelling will most likely be localised to the injured area, like the ankle or knee. It is often short-lasting, resolving in 24-48 hours depending on the severity.
To help relieve the swelling, gently ice the area, elevate the foot using a pillow and avoid movements that elicit pain. If your swelling doesn’t ease, or your injury is serious and needs professional care, book in to see your podiatrist.
2. From Pregnancy
Swelling in the feet and legs often occurs during pregnancy because of the increase in blood volume. When combined with the pregnancy hormones that encourage fluid retention and the pressure from the growing fetus on the lower limbs, circulation is restricted and the swelling begins. This also slows down the drainage of fluids from the lower limbs, keeping them swollen.
You can help promote healthy blood flow by regularly elevating feet, wearing supportive footwear that doesn’t restrict blood flow and push on your feet, ensuring your socks aren’t too tight and regularly walking or exercising. If your feet are feeling uncomfortable, some custom orthotics from your podiatrist may be able to help.
3. As A Side Effect Of Medication
Swelling can be a side effect of many medications, including diabetes medication, blood pressure medication, hormone replacements, antidepressants and more. Elevating the feet and moving regularly can help promote fluid flow, but if the swelling is becoming excessive or painful, you’ll want to discuss this with your prescribing doctor. Like with pregnancy, orthotics can help you feel more comfortable on your feet during swelling by providing support and pressure relief.
4. A Medical Condition Or Disease
A number of underlying problems can cause swelling in the feet and legs, including heart and kidney problems. Heart problems may impact the pumping of the blood, causing it to pool in the veins in the legs instead of being pumped back to the heart. As kidneys work to get rid of excess fluid in the body, kidney problems can also contribute to unresolved swelling.
In these cases, it is important to seek appropriate care from your doctor as it’ll be important to diagnose and address the underlying cause of your swelling.