With ageing, it is common to experience puffiness or swelling in our feet, especially after long hours of standing or sitting in the same position during travels. Typically, the reason for the feet to appear somewhat swollen is fluid accumulation in the feet. Usually, this will settle when you raise the feet at an elevated level while resting, or simply moving and stretching more during long journeys. Although this swelling might go away after giving some rest to your feet, it may sometimes be a warning sign for certain serious underlying health conditions.
Some other reasons that may cause swollen feet are pregnancy, consumption of excess salt in your diet or having an unhealthy weight. Certain medicines such as steroids, hormones, birth control pills or medicines to control high blood pressure may also contribute to swollen feet. In such cases, the problem can be resolved once the exact cause is determined and the medicine can be stopped or replaced by your doctor.
However, if the swelling stays or worsens, it is better to seek medical advice. Ignoring the swollen feet might result in severe health conditions. Let us discuss ten essential health-related considerations that you should not ignore if you have swollen feet:
1) Varicose veins:
The valves in the veins are responsible for the movement of blood and avoiding the accumulation of fluid in the feet because of the downward pulling of blood by gravity. Ageing leads to weakened function of the valves in the veins, thereby resulting in fluid accumulation that causes the feet to swell.
Inflammation in the veins of the leg and feet can also be a reason behind swollen feet. The condition is often associated with pain and redness.
3) Formation of blood clots in the veins (Deep Vein Thrombosis):
This serious condition is medically termed as deep vein thrombosis, wherein the blood clots are formed in the deeper veins of the legs, thus obstructing the backward movement of blood to the heart from the legs. As a result, they cause swelling in the legs and feet. It is a condition that needs immediate attention as these clots might break loose and travel towards the lungs to cause breathlessness. This condition commonly occurs only in one leg; hence, do not ignore if you notice an unusual swelling only in one foot.
4) Heart failure:
A less functioning heart or a failing heart is less capable of moving the blood to the heart from the legs. It may cause swelling on the feet.
5) Liver disease:
Sometimes, the affected liver causes low levels of albumin. This may cause fluid to pass from the blood into the tissues causing swelling on feet, hands and face.
6) Kidney disease:
The abnormal functioning of kidneys can lead to fluid accumulation in the feet, which causes oedema and swelling on the feet.
7) Swelling due to lymph channels damage:
People with damaged lymph nodes or whose lymph nodes have been removed during cancer treatment also suffer from swollen feet. The reason is the insufficient filtration of the lymph that leads to fluid accumulation in the limbs.
Injuries to the legs or fractures in the leg or feet can also result in swelling.
9) Tendonitis and arthritis:
In such conditions, the inflammation on the tendons or joints can result in the swelling of the feet, which is very painful.
10) Ingrown toenails:
Toenails growing inside the skin can sometimes lead to sores and swelling.
Stockings help in some conditions to reduce the swelling. The best practice is to consult a doctor immediately for correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The treatment of your swollen feet might be as easy as some simple lifestyle changes such as proper diet, comfortable footwear or gentle exercises. Doctors may advise medication or even a surgical intervention if you have a serious underlying condition.