Foot Swelling & Edema

Swelling of the feet, or edema, is the abundance of fluid found between the tissue cells. Edema is usually seen in the legs, ankles and feet, but can occur anywhere in the body. Foot swelling can start as a gradual process with the feet starting to swell up more as the day progresses. Eventually the feet swelling will start in the morning and continue to swell through out the day.

Edema is not a benign thing; it can cause serious long-term side effects. Over time edema will not only cause your feet to swell, but it can cause other parts of your body to swell as well. Edema is a medical condition, characterized by constant foot swelling and other factors. These other factors include varicose veins and a history of phlebitis (which is the inflammation of the vein's wall), pitting, which is when you press on the swollen area for a few seconds, there will be an indentation in the area, or skin ulcerations developing on the feet along with continued swelling.

Foot swelling can also be from a number of other factors, including:
  • Kidney, heart, liver or blood vessel condition which is causing your feet to swell.
  • Eating a poor diet, high in salt and carbohydrates, causing your feet to swell and other parts of the body as well.
  • Abusing drugs, laxatives or diuretics can cause foot swelling.
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can cause foot swelling.
  • Being pregnant or suffering from PMS causes foot swelling in women.
  • A neuromuscular disorder, for which you should see your doctor immediately.
  • Trauma to the area can also cause foot swelling.
  • An allergic reaction to a food, animal or other allergen can cause foot swelling.


For all of these conditions you should see your doctor. Edema can put you at risk for high blood pressure, headaches, heart palpitations, weight gain and an increase in urination frequency.

To relieve foot swelling the best idea is to elevate the feet above the heart. Sitting in a reclining chair is an easy way to keep your feet elevated. There are many products available to ease foot swelling, such as leg cushions, bed wedges and leg elevators. Wearing support socks or graduated compression hosiery is another way to keep swelling down. Wearing shoes with a proper fit and support socks also help with swelling.

To reduce foot swelling it is recommended to:
  • Increase activity with light exercise such as walking.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time.
  • Sit with the feet elevated as much as possible.
  • Limit sodium intake.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Do not take laxatives or diuretics.
  • Using a compression pump can help the fluid in the tissues to return to thee blood vessels.

If your foot swelling does not lessen and go away with these techniques it is important that you visit your doctor to eliminate the possibility of more serious health conditions.

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