Swelling in the feet or ankles can cause discomfort as it makes difficult to move freely. The swelling may be caused because of several reasons depending on your condition.
Why does Swelling Occur in the Feet?
Swelling occurs as a result of fluid retention in the body. Mostly, it occurs in the lower part of the body as the gravity pulls the fluid in those areas such as lower legs, feet, and ankles.
Most often swelling does not need immediate attention as it usually goes away in its own. However, it is important to see your doctor if the swelling continues with other painful symptoms.
What are the Causes of Swelling?
Swelling can be caused by minor reasons as well as some serious ones which should not be ignored. Whatever is the cause, swelling should not be severe and should go away after sometime otherwise it should be reported to a doctor for further diagnosis.
Edema is the most common cause of swelling in which fluid is retained in the tissues of the body. The trapped fluid can affect different parts of the body including feet, hands, face, and abdomen.
The symptoms of edema are dimples occuring when the swollen area is pressed, shiny swollen skin, reduced mobility, and breathing difficulty. Edema may go away on its own or may even need treatment with the help of medications depending on how severe it is.
Foot or Ankle Injury
Overstretching of the ligaments can cause swelling in the injured foot or ankle. Try not to put strain on the affected leg so as to heal the injury. Moreover, ice packs and over the counter medicines can also provide treatment for the condition.
Swelling of the feet and hands is very common in the third trimester of pregnancy as the uterus exters pressure on the veins causing parts to swell. The cause is fluid retention which should be treated through common remedies. Elevating feet and staying cool are the most effective remedies to work.
Sudden and severe swelling of the body parts in pregnancy can indicate a condition known as preeclampsia. Symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in urine, dizziness, nausea, vision changes, headaches, less frequent urination, and rapid fluid retention. The condition can be dangerous and may need an emergency treatment.
Inactive lifestyle can also affect your body and cause fluid retention. Being overweight can also contribute to the reason you are suffering from swelling. It is therefore important to follow an active routine and lose weight to control the symptoms.
Side Effect of Medication
Some medications are known to cause water retention in the body including calcium channel blockers, steroids, antidepressants, hormone pills, and diabetes medications. You should consult your doctor if you think the swelling is caused as a result of taking them so that alterations can be made.
Drinking alcohol can cause water retention in the body. Recurrent swelling should be reported to a doctor for further examination.
High temperatures can make swelling severe as a result of expanding veins to cool off your body. Fluid leakage from the tissues can accumulate in the feet or ankles to make them swell. Wear comfortable footwear in warm weather to allow ventilation.
An infection can cause swelling in the feet which is common for diabetics. Usually antibiotics are prescribed for treating the infection and other symptoms.
Damaged valves in the body can cause poor blood circulation and leakage which reaults in swelling. Exercising can prove to be effective in this case along with medication to repair the damaged blood vessels.
Blood clots are formed when the platelets stick together which can stop the blood flow causing body parts to swell. Swelling in one leg and color changes can be a sign of blood clot. Sitting with crossed legs should be avoided for long periods.
Heart disease may not allow blood to flow through the body parts which may result in swelling. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, weakness, and rapid heartbeat.
The kidney disease may not allow the kidneys to flush out water from the body which may cause swelling. There are options for treating kidney failure through dialysis, medication, and kidney transplant.
Liver disease is another reason why swelling may occur as it stops the production of albumin. Albumin is helpful in stopping blood leakage from vessels.
Best Fixes for Relieving Swelling
The swelling on both sides of the body can be treated with easy yet effective remedies to relieve pain. Following are some of the quick fixes to try for yourself.
Elevating your legs is the most effective to reduce swelling. Yoga poses may also help with various poses in which you can prop your legs up against the wall. The feet should be raised above the level of heart so as to circulate blood in the upper body and shift the strain from the lower legs.
Weight loss is the ultimate solution to most health problems as it only makes pain worse. Same goes for swelling and losing weight will help reduce the pain as there will be less strain on the lower body.
Exercise is meant to move your body to regulate blood circulation as sitting and standing for too long can make the swelling worse. Swimming is also considered good for reducing swelling as you make your legs move. Moving the knees and extending the ankles will help relieve pain and puffiness.
It is considered to soak feet and ankles into a cold water bath containing epsom salt to relieve pain and swelling. Do not expose the feet to extreme temperatures and check with your hands first if you are diabetic.
These are available at local stores and can help in preventing fluid retention in the feet. Try not to choose socks that are too tight for your body.
Magnesium supplements have shown noticable difference in relieving swelling. Consuming 200 mg to 400 mg of magnesium in your daily diet will make the difference. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your routine as heart and kidney patients should take precautions.
High Potassium Diet
A diet high in potassium can help reduce swelling. Bananas are an example of high potassium foods.
Drink Less Coffee
Caffeine leads to dehydration in the body which means it is best to avoid it when you are struggling with swelling.
Drink Enough Water
Have at least 8 to 12 glasses of water daily to keep your body well hydrated. Water helps to flush out toxins from the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is effective in reducing swelling as it is high in potassium. Mixing it with water and wrapping a towel soaked in the mixture can help relieve swelling too.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce Swelling?
Simple changes in your daily lifestyle can reduce the swelling and pain caused by it. Walking for a few minutes every hour can help regulate blood circulation throughout the body.
Keeping your water intake sufficient will keep your body well hydrated. Limiting salt intake will also help in relieving swelling as sodium is known to make the problem worse. Also, place books or pillows under the feet to keep them elevated whenever you have to sit or lie on bed.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Swelling occuring only on one side of the body should be discussed with a doctor. Blisters or sores can also be an indication of an infection. Deep vein thrombosis can be a risk for health and therefore a doctor can help diagnose the condition better.