If your shoes feel tight and you notice your feet look swollen, there are a few common causes to know about. Swelling or “edema” happens around the body, but most commonly found in legs and feet, thanks to gravity. While it’s not usually a cause for concern among middle-aged people, you should reach out to your doctor if swelling has been there a few days, especially if they are making you uncomfortable. I’m not a medical professional, but here are the top 5 causes I’ve found for swollen feet.

Sitting or standing for an extended period. Circulation is affected by long spans of inactivity or sitting. Your muscles are at rest, and your veins are often pinched in-between changing the position of your legs. This cuts down on overall blood flow. If you’re on a plane, long road trip, or a long meeting at the office, try to get up and stretch when you can take a break. Walk around a bit. Staying on your feet all day can also cause your feet to swell. Standing in one place for long periods can cause blood flow to slow down due to a lack of muscle movement and result in swelling too. A good remedy is to sit for at least 5 minutes out of every hour of constant standing. Compression is also an effective way to help circulation. Pedifix.com has several good compression options for your feet.

You are too sedentary. For many of us, it’s hard to squeeze in enough exercise when you push through the workday and struggle to meet personal and family obligations. But taking time, even 15-20 minutes a day, can help make you less likely to develop health issues later on. If a gym membership isn’t for you, take the long way to the copier or watercooler at work or park further out in the parking lot. Maybe do a few more chores that require a physical component you tend to avoid. Walking the dog is a great way to get exercise and bond with your favorite buddy. Use the stairs more often, take out the garbage and walk around the grocery store looking for those big bargains.

Sprains. Everyone has been there. Whether it’s from a sports injury or you rolled your ankle stepping off a curb at the mall, sprains happen. Swelling can come fast and be a painful reminder you may have sprained your ankle. This type of swelling is your body reacting to the injury. It’s meant to protect the bruised area and discourage you from weight-bearing activity. Use the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and keep an eye on your injury. You will want to rule out an infection, so call the doctor if it doesn’t get better, or you want effective care and rehab plan from an expert.

Your diet could be better. Salty foods can cause water retention, which can lead to swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs. It also increases the risk of elevated blood pressure. Try to avoid adding salt to meals and look for healthier options when possible. Snacks can often be our downfall in a few dietary categories, so try to mix in some better options with your salty snacks and mealtime choices.

Medication. We’ve also seen those pharmaceutical commercials on T.V. with the small, unreadable print and the fast talker reading off a list of possible side effects from their medication. Some high blood pressure medications and over-the-counter pain medications can increase the risk of swelling, but that is often how the medication will react with you as an individual. If you’ve never taken a particular medication before, read the product warnings and ask your doctor and pharmacist about possible side effects. Especially if you hear of a side effect that you’ve encountered before on a different medication. Painful or localized swelling lasting a couple of days from medication should be reported to your doctor right away. It’s better to rule out something than risk waiting. Hormones, Steroids, and some diabetes medications are known to cause swelling.

While swollen feet are typically nothing to worry about, know the signs and pay attention to your body is telling you. It’s also important to note, swelling of the feet and ankles is also normal during pregnancy, but sudden or excessive swelling accompanied by headaches or abdominal pain is not. If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to inspect your feet daily for anything unusual, because complications can progress quickly. If the swelling continues to get worse and is accompanied by other symptoms, like shortness of breath, chest pain, or pressure in the chest, see your doctor or call 911. It could be an outward sign of heart, kidney, or liver disease. If you have any of these warning signs, please consult your doctor immediately.

If you have questions about compression foot care products from PediFix, please reach out to us at Pedifix.com or by phone at 1-800-PEDIFIX (733-4349) to speak directly to a product specialist today.

PediFix Medical Footcare. 256 Ways to Relieve Foot Pain.

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