When Are Swollen Feet Indicative of a Problem?

There are many reasons your feet may swell, ranging from simple gravity to heart failure. With such a range of possible causes, you may wonder whether your swollen feet are cause for concern. 

Mild concern 

Swelling in your feet, ankles, and lower legs is called edema, and it’s quite common. You’re more likely to experience edema if you’re overweight and older than 40, although it can happen to anyone of any age. 

If you stand or walk more than usual, your feet will probably swell. The best thing to do in that case is rest and prop up your feet.

Another common reason for edema is sitting for long periods of time each day. If you must sit for hours each day, an easy solution is to set a timer, and stand up once an hour or so. Walk around if you can, and get your blood flowing.

Moderate concern 

Your veins aren’t simply hollow tubes. Instead, they have valves throughout that keep the blood from succumbing to the force of gravity, flowing down your legs, and pooling in your feet. However, those valves can begin to leak or function less efficiently with age, a condition called venous insufficiency, which is a common cause of edema.

Chronic venous insufficiency does require treatment. The symptoms can include a tight, itchy, or painful feeling in your legs, pain when you walk, or a change in the color of your skin.

In the worst cases, you may develop ulcers or sores that don’t heal properly. Chronic venous insufficiency can also be associated with other health problems. 

Serious concern

One of the more serious problems swollen feet may indicate is heart failure. If your heart is weak, it doesn’t efficiently pump blood. A weakened heart may not pump well enough to bring the blood from your feet back up to your lungs and heart, leading to swollen feet.

Blood clots, called deep vein thrombosis, can also cause your feet to swell. Blood clots are dangerous because if they break loose, they can travel to your lungs where they can cause a pulmonary embolism. Usually, blood clots only occur in one leg or the other, so swelling in just one leg may be a symptom of a blood clot.

Liver disease can also be associated with swollen feet. However, if you have liver disease, you have swelling in your hands, face, or other parts of your body, as well as in your feet and legs. Similarly, kidney disease can cause swelling in your feet and other parts of your body.

There are many other possible causes of swelling in your feet, and if you’ve been experiencing unexplained swelling, you should consider booking an appointment at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. Dr. Richard Nichols and Dr. Joseph Harvey are happy to evaluate your condition and suggest a treatment plan. 

We have two locations, one in Grapevine and the other in Keller, for your convenience. Call the location that works best for you to schedule your appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.

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