Edema (Swollen Feet) is a common condition that involves buildup of fluid in the feet muscles that can lead to rapid weight increase. When the gravity pulls the fluid to your feet and ankles, they become swollen.
- Pregnancy, The Most Common Cause
This can be due to a number of reasons, the most common being pregnancy.
- Summer Weather
Slight swelling of the legs and feet are prevalent during the warm summer months.
People who walk or stand a lot are also prone to edema.
While most swollen feet shouldn’t be a cause for concern, other cases signal an underlying serious medical condition such as a problem with the:
- blood vessels
Other than that, feet swelling can be caused by the following:
- diet high in carbohydrates and salt
- birth control or hormone replacement therapy pills
- defective veins in the legs that are unable to pump blood back to the heart
- varicose veins
- muscle injury
- sodium retention
- neuromuscular disorders
- excess weight
- blood clot in the leg
- leg infection
- history of phlebitis
- allergic reactions
- abuse of laxative or diuretic
The good news is yes, it can be treated. But since edema can be caused by a number of things, the treatment would depend on the cause of the swelling.
• One of the initial treatments is elevation of the legs above level of the heart.
• Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the swelling.
• You also need to consult your doctor about certain medications that you have already been taking. Certain drugs can aggravate swelling.
These medications to avoid include following.
- antidepressants, ie:
MAO inhibitors (such as phenelzine and tranylcypromine)
tricyclics (such as nortriptyline, desipramine, and amitriptyline)
- blood pressure medications, ie:
calcium channel blockers (such as nifedipine, amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, and verapamil)
- hormones, ie:
estrogen (birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy)
• Other options for treatment include:
- leg wedges for feet elevation during sleep
- support stocks and stocking
- proper fitted shoes and socks
- low-sodium diet
• At home, it would be a good habit to lie on your back, put your feet up at 12 inches above the level of your heart for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Do this three to four times daily.
• Exercising regularly can also help, as this improves circulation.
• If possible, avoid standing in place for a long period of time. If your job entails standing a lot during the day, see to it that you wear comfortable shoes and you walk around from time to time. Walking can help increase muscle activity.
• Losing excess weight is also necessary since this can slow down the circulation of body fluids as well as exert extra pressure on the veins.
• Call 911 if you feel shortness of breath and if you have chest pain that feels like tightness or pressure.
• Call your doctor if:
- if you have a heart disease or kidney disease and worsening swelling
- if you have fever
- if you have liver disease and have swelling in the legs or abdomen
- if the swollen foot is red or warm to touch