5 Reasons Why Your Feet are Swollen

By Jamie Hergenrader

When your feet are so damn swollen it hurts to even put your shoes on, that feeling of panic (and the urge to Google your symptoms) might kick in. Seriously, what the heck is going on?! The good news is that in most cases, it’s nothing serious. Here, a podiatrist explains common reasons why your feet might look and feel more balloonish than usual and offers tips on how to treat the swelling.

You’ve been on your feet all day.

If you’ve been traipsing around all day, your busy schedule might be the culprit. A long day of standing or walking can lead to swelling in your lower extremities, says Jacqueline Sutera, a doctor of podiatric medicine and spokesperson for theAmerican Podiatric Medical Association and Vionic. Take regular rest breaks to give those puppies a breather, and keep them elevated, ideally above the height of your heart, to get your circulation flowing again. The good news: The swelling should go away overnight while you’re sleeping, says Sutera.

Your shoes are too tight.

Those pointy-toed heels or strappy sandals you love? You’re probably aware that they’re not exactly ideal for foot health. Constriction from shoes—straps digging into your ankle or your toes squished together—restricts the movement of fluids, leading to bloated feet. So if your tootsies tend to be swollen after you’ve squeezed them into a certain pair of shoes, they’re likely the culprit. “Three things to look for in a good pair of shoes are arch support, cushioning, and shock absorption,” says Sutera.

You’ve gained some weight.

Extra pounds can cause your feet to swell due to the additional volume they’re supporting, says Sutera. (Unfortunately, you’ll have to lose the weight for your feet to go back to their regular size.) This also applies to pregnancy, particularly in your third trimester. When you’re pregnant, your body produces 50% more blood and fluids to support the baby and also to prep your pelvic region for delivery, according to the American Pregnancy Association. This in turn can cause your feet to expand in size. So what can you do? Sutera recommends wearing comfy shoes that won’t cause even more swelling and elevating your feet when you can.

You have a circulation disorder.

If both of your feet are swollen and none of the above criteria apply, you could have a circulation disorder such as varicose veins, a venous insufficiency (your veins aren’t bringing blood back to your heart, so it pools in your legs), or rarely, a blood clot, says Sutera. Make an appointment with your doctor if your swelling doesn’t seem to be related to any of the above factors.

You have an infection.

A bacterial or fungal infection on your foot (including on or between your toes) could cause a rash, which can lead to inflammation, says Sutera. See your doctor, who will likely prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection, which will alleviate the swelling problem.

Source: Prevention | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide