What Causes Feet to Swell?

Causes of Feet to Swell

Swelling of the feet, also known as peripheral edema, can have various causes. It occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the tissues of the feet and ankles. Some common causes of foot swelling include:

  • Prolonged Standing or Sitting: Remaining in one position for an extended period, such as standing or sitting for long hours, can cause fluid to pool in the lower extremities, leading to swelling.
  • Hot Weather: High temperatures can cause blood vessels to dilate, allowing more fluid to escape into the surrounding tissues and causing swelling.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the veins due to the growing uterus can lead to foot and ankle swelling in pregnant women.
  • Injury or Trauma: Sprains, strains, or fractures in the foot or ankle can cause localized swelling.
  • Inactivity: Lack of physical activity can slow down the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, leading to fluid retention and swelling.
  • Venous Insufficiency: This condition occurs when the veins in the legs have difficulty returning blood to the heart, causing fluid to pool in the lower extremities.
  • Heart Failure: In heart failure, the heart’s pumping function is impaired, leading to fluid buildup in the body, including the feet and ankles.
  • Kidney Disease: Kidney problems can result in fluid retention, leading to swelling in the feet and ankles.
  • Liver Disease: Liver dysfunction can cause a decrease in the production of proteins responsible for maintaining fluid balance, leading to edema in the lower extremities.
  • Certain Medications: Some medications, such as calcium channel blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and certain antidepressants, may cause fluid retention and swelling.
  • Lymphedema: This condition occurs when there is a blockage or damage to the lymphatic system, leading to fluid accumulation and swelling in the affected area.
  • Infections and Inflammatory Conditions: Infections or inflammation in the feet or ankles can cause localized swelling.

If you experience sudden or severe foot swelling, especially if it is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, or sudden weight gain, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional can help determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment or management for foot swelling.

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