Enough of the Puff: Get Rid of Swollen Feet and Ankles

Puppies, penguins, and hedgehogs: Some things are so cute when they’re puffy! However, when there’s a buildup of fluid in your feet and ankles, you end up with swollen feet—it’s neither cute nor fun.

Swollen Feet, Known as Edema

With edema, the tiny blood vessels in your body leak fluid that end up pooling in the surrounding tissues. When most people talk about swelling in their feet and ankles, this is what they’re talking about. Usually, it’s due to underlying problems that are mostly harmless. However, keep on the lookout for a few causes that may require a doctor’s visit. Here are some of the numerous causes for swelling in the feet and ankles.

Causes for “Cankles”

You can experience mild swelling just from walking, standing, or sitting in the same position for a long amount of time. Gravity makes swelling more noticeable in the feet and ankles. To get rid of your symptoms, simply elevate your feet and ankles above the heart. Incorporate more exercise into your daily regimen, too. Just a small amount of walking around can get your blood pumping and fluids moving.

Pregnancy is another one of the reasons for swelling. During this time, your blood flow increases to nurture your baby and yourself, which, in turn, increases the fluid in your body. Another reason why your feet swell during pregnancy is attributed to the extra pressure on your pelvic veins and vena cava—the large vein that brings blood from the lower limbs back to the heart.

The only time you should be concerned about the swelling is if it’s accompanied by high blood pressure, rapid weight gain, and lasts persistently for a few days. To get rid of symptoms, easy treatment methods involve exercise and elevating the feet, drinking plenty of water, and staying away from excess salt when you’re eating.

Some medications might also make your feet bulge. Check with your doctor to see if your prescriptions could be the cause. Generally, drugs like anti-inflammatories, hormones, steroids, anti-depressants, high blood pressure medicines, and prescriptions for people with diabetes could be increasing the fluids in your feet.

In certain instances, your swelling may require medical treatment. The swelling may be an indicator of blood clots, pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, congestive heart failure, liver and kidney failure, abscesses, lymph vessel or node blockage, chronic venous insufficiency, or a foot and ankle fracture.

Symptoms—What to Look For

Pregnancy, medications, and diseases usually present swelling that occurs in both feet. Your feet will feel soft and puffy. Oftentimes, the symptoms will spread to your ankles within hours. If you can indent your skin with a finger and watch it slowly return to its puffy state, you’re probably experiencing edema. You can also see these marks after taking off your socks and shoes. You might see darker marks where the indentations are, but overall your skin will look normal to slightly pale.

If you have chronic swollen feet that last for more than a few days and your problems aren’t resolved by elevating the limbs, please visit Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City, Nevada. We can diagnose your underlying condition and help you treat the swelling right away. Make an appointment with Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM, by calling (775) 783-8037. Our office can also be found on Facebook and Pinterest.