When swelling occurs in the body, it is called “edema” and, essentially, it means that an accumulation of fluid has occurred. When this accumulation occurs in the legs, ankles or feet, it is called “peripheral edema.”. Swollen feet, for example, are not exactly the pinnacle of natural beauty. Feet often swell because something is wrong with the foot, such as an injury (e.g.: broken bone or sprain), a tumor or infection. Or your foot may swell after surgery. Swelling in these instances usually happens because the body is sending extra fluid to the area to promote healing.
Although swollen feet are mainly characterized by an excess of fluid in the foot, there may also be secondary symptoms, such as numbness, redness, tenderness, heat, stiffness, tingling or the sensation of “burning”. Depending on the cause of the swelling there may be bleeding, bruising, or difficulty moving the foot or putting weight on it.
Common Reasons Why You Have Swollen Feet
There are several potential causes of feet swelling and several factors need to be taken in consideration, including the length of the time the swelling has occurred, the severity of the swelling, and any known underlying conditions (such as diabetes or injury) that may be contributing to the swelling. Additional factors that may be causing the feet to swell are very important as there are so many potential causes to this condition. The following are some of the more common reasons why you might be having swollen feet;
- You stand too much – Standing all day can cause them to swell and feel sore. Make sure you are taking the proper breaks and, if possible, raise your feet so that the blood circulates again. The swelling caused by standing will disappear during the night while you sleep.
- You’re wearing the wrong shoes – Shoes that do not fit properly can cause your feet to swell. When shoes don’t fit properly, the tightness restricts blood flow. Finding good footwear can help reduce swelling.
- You have gained weight – If you gain weight, your feet have more to bear, which can cause them to swell. The good news is that losing those additional pounds should help your situation. You can still help reduce swelling by wearing appropriate shoes and lifting your feet whenever possible. However, if you are overweight, it is in your best interest to drop those extra pounds.
- You have poor circulation – If your hands and feet are swollen but you don’t stand too much, your shoes are comfortable, and you haven’t gained weight, it could be a sign of a foot circulation problem. Varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and blood clots can cause your feet to swell. It is best to see your doctor for treatment.
- You have an infection – A bacterial or fungal infection of the foot or toes can contribute to the swelling. In many cases, antibacterial or antifungals will normalize your feet, but do not wait. As soon as you notice changes to your feet, you should consult your doctor.
6 Ways To Treat Swollen Feet
1. Soak your feet
There are two ways you can do this. Either use warm water alone or mix cool water with Epsom salt. No matter what you choose, you’ll find comfort in it and, more importantly, it’ll help reduce the swelling. Warm water will help you increase your feet’s blood flow and thus reduce inflammation. It’ll also help you relax. Cool water with Epsom salt will have a similar result and – according to several studies – it’ll help you release toxins. Try either option for 10 to 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times per day. Some will have a better reaction to warm water, others to cold.
2. Wear compression socks
You can find compression socks all over the place. Your local drug store has more than its fair share for sale. If you don’t feel like going out, you can buy them online. Bear in mind compression socks come in different sizes and weights. Don’t go over-the-top right away! Work your way into the heaviest weight available. Even if you feel like your feet are way too swollen for a light-weight compression sock to work, you still need to give yourself time to adjust to it. You might end up compromising your feet’s blood circulation if you rush it!
3. Cold Therapy
Cold therapy (aka “Cryotherapy”), is a great way to reduce swelling and inflammation especially if it’s caused by an injury. Not only does cold therapy reduce swelling, it also dulls the nerve endings which gives you some much needed pain relief. Although there are a bunch of different ways you can apply cold therapy to your feet, we highly recommend that you get a product (such as our ankle ice wrap with compression that combines cold therapy with compression therapy. The combination has been proven to be more successful in reducing swelling than just using ice on its own. (Important note – Cold therapy is not meant for people with poor circulation or sensitivity to cold. Always consult your doctor before starting this form of treatment.)
4. Massage and stretch your feet
A good foot massage is pretty much self-explanatory – you’d probably go get one whether you have swollen feet or not! But here’s the thing: a foot massage might be the thing that will fix this issue. And it’ll feel amazing too! Keep in mind you should also stretch your feet. Yes, your feet have muscles too and they will cramp if you don’t stretch them. If you don’t know how to stretch your feet, all you have to do is gently separate your toes from each other. Wearing a toe separator a couple of minutes every day can help as much as a massage.
5. Move and elevate your feet
If you have to sit or stand for long periods of time, the best thing you can do is move your feet around. If you’ve been sitting for a long time, stand up and go for a 5-minute walk. On the other hand, if you’ve been standing up, sit down and move your toes around. After you’re done with whatever is keeping you standing or sitting, lie down and elevate your feet. This will ease your blood circulation and prevent further inflammation.
6. Lose weight
This might seem like the most drastic option out of the 6 listed – but it might be the one to take your pain away. Being overweight can hurt your body in multiple ways, feet included.
As you can see, there are several reasons why you may have swollen feet, some of which are more severe than others. If you don’t take care of them, over time this can have serious consequences such as decreased blood circulation, increased pain, difficulty walking, a risk of infection and scarring of the tissues of the feet. We hoped this information helped you understand more about what’s going on with your feet, however if you suspect more serious underlying conditions, get them looked at by a professional as soon as possible. If you have some personal experience in dealing with swollen or painful feet, we’d love to hear from you. What worked? What didn’t work? Just use the comment section below to let us know!
Disclaimer – We aren’t doctors here at SimplyJnJ. The information that we post on our Web site, such as the information above about swollen feet, is done for informational purposes only. Do not take it as medical advice. Always consult a medical practitioner when you are experiencing pain.