Many people experience a common medical problem: swollen and uncomfortable feet. Swollen feet may be easy to dismiss as a minor annoyance, but if you’re a runner, a walker, or have an active lifestyle that keeps you constantly on your feet, swollen feet are no fun and can make it difficult to participate in the activities you enjoy. Having swollen feet may also indicate a more serious problem, especially if you have a medical condition such as diabetes. Seeing a podiatrist for swollen feet can help identify the underlying cause of the swelling, and a treatment plan can be developed for your specific needs.
Common Causes of Swollen Feet
The most common cause of swollen feet is edema. Edema develops when fluids build up in your body’s tissues. This buildup causes the tissue to expand, leading to swelling.
Factors That Can Lead to Swollen Feet
- Sitting or standing in one position for too long
- Being in heat or humidity
- Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
- Being dehydrated or overweight
- Taking certain medications such as steroids, hormones, or antidepressants
- Eating salty foods that cause you to retain fluids
- Being pregnant
- Spraining or injuring your ankle or foot
- Having an infection of the bone
- Having a medical condition such as arthritis or gout
In some cases, the cause of your swollen feet could be more serious than just dehydration or sitting in one position too long. Some medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and heart failure can cause swelling in the extremities. Another cause of swelling is chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that restricts blood flow from the veins in the leg to the heart.
A more serious cause of swelling is deep vein thrombosis or blood clots. This is an extremely dangerous condition since a blood clot can break loose and cause a pulmonary embolism in the lungs.
Symptoms That Can Accompany Swelling
If you have swollen feet and also experience shortness of breath or chest pain, it’s important to seek medical help immediately, as this could be a sign of something more serious. Other signs along with foot swelling that require immediate attention are changes or loss in vision, slurred speech, sudden swelling of the face, tongue, or lips, and paralysis.
Other Symptoms That Need Attention
- Sudden swelling with no explanation
- Pain that worsens over time
- Discoloration or redness in the area
- Skin ulcers or sores
- Persistent itching
- Joint stiffness
- Tingling or burning sensation
How to Manage a Swollen Foot at Home
There are a variety of ways you can manage a swollen foot at home, but it’s important to know the cause of the swelling. If your swollen foot is caused by an injury, you may want to try RICE therapy: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If the swelling is a result of fluid buildup, you may want to try these tips:
- Lie down and elevate your feet higher than your heart
- Decrease your salt intake
- Wear compression socks
How a Texas Podiatrist Can Help Swollen Feet
If your swollen feet do not improve after trying home treatments such as resting and drinking plenty of fluids, it’s time to see a Texas podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment. It is essential to choose a podiatrist with experience in diagnosing and treating swollen feet—someone who can offer different treatment options and who can provide a tailored treatment plan based on the underlying cause of the swelling. At Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists, our Dallas-Fort Worth area podiatrists do all of that and more. We have a variety of non-invasive treatment options combined with years of experience handling a wide range of conditions that contribute to swollen feet.
To determine the cause of your foot swelling, your podiatrist will examine your feet and legs and review your medical history. In certain situations, lab tests or imaging tests may be ordered to identify and confirm the underlying cause of your swollen feet.
Diagnosing Swollen Feet
Depending on the diagnosis, there are several treatment options available that can provide much-needed relief from uncomfortable swelling in the feet and ankles. For minor swelling in the feet caused by prolonged sitting or standing, simply elevating your legs above your heart and taking breaks throughout the day can help reduce symptoms.
If your feet are swelling due to an injury, such as a sprained ankle, taking time off from your activity, alternating the use of an ice pack with a warm compress, and resting can help ease symptoms and give your foot and ankle a chance to heal. You may need to keep your foot elevated and use compression.
Other Treatment Options for Swollen Feet
- Wear compression socks or stockings to keep fluids from pooling in your legs
- Take anti-inflammatory or steroid medications to reduce pain and swelling
- Perform regular foot exercises such as ankle rotations to help with blood flow
- Soak in warm water with Epsom salts (if you have diabetes, discuss this option with your doctor first)
- Massage the affected area gently with lotion or oil
- Lose weight and make lifestyle changes by reducing the amount of salt in your diet, quitting smoking, and refraining from alcohol
If medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure are causing swollen feet, working closely with a podiatrist will help ensure that these conditions are monitored closely and treated properly. If left untreated, more serious complications, such as the spread of infection, loss of mobility, permanent damage, or amputation, could occur.
Looking for a Podiatrist to Treat Swollen Feet?
If you have concerns about swollen feet, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation today. We can evaluate your condition, determine why your feet are swollen, and create a treatment plan based on your specific needs. To request an appointment, contact our Grapevine or Keller offices by filling out our convenient contact form online or by calling our office at 817-481-4000.