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Swollen Feet – Risk Factors, Prevention And Causes


Swollen Feet – Risk Factors, Prevention And Causes

In the hot days of summer, at high temperatures, the body reacts in different ways. In hot weather, some parts of the body retain excess water and swell. Under the effect of gravity, swelling is most obvious in the lower part of the legs: leg, ankle and foot. Even though this event is temporary, swollen feet can cause discomfort during summertime. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce this inconvenience.

Swollen feet, sole and ankle, without this being associated with pain, is called peripheral edema. When swelling occurs, especially in conditions of heat, it is called heat edema. This swelling occurs due to heat especially when blood vessels dilate, and the person concerned maintained positions of standing or sitting for long intervals. The result is fluid retention in the legs.

Swollen Feet

Swollen Feet

Risk factors and ways to prevent swollen feet

Peripheral edema is common and is often rather uncomfortable looking, but a serious health condition. Some people, such as elderly, pregnant women, the childbearing period, overweight, are more likely to experience this condition. They can take extra precautions to prevent swelling occurred during the summer.

To prevent swelling triggered by warm weather, try to avoid high temperatures, as much as possible. Maintaining low levels of body heat will reduce vasodilation, and by this way the feel pressure in the legs. Equally important is to avoid prolonged standing or sitting in the upright position. Immobility causes accumulation of fluid in the legs, ankles and feet. If a person needs to make a long trip by car, train or plane and has to stay a long time, sitting in the same position, it is important, when possible, to change its position or make short walks. If walking is not possible moving or elevating the feet from the ground a few inches is recommended.

Also, consumption of salt predisposes to water retention. Therefore the patient will limit the salt intake, especially in hot weather to maintain a healthy balance of body health.

Ways to reduce swollen feet

Swollen feet can be reduced even by measures that can be applied at home.
As long standing is one of the causes that cause swelling in hot periods, avoiding it prevents swelling of the feet. Also, lifting feet off the ground counteracts the effects of gravity and fluid flow normalizes.
Exercise helps the heart to pump liquids that due to physical inactivity have accumulated in the lower limbs. Walking and other simple movements that are involving the legs can diminish swelling. Also, medical stockings with supportive role, can reduce the swollen feet symptoms.

When it is necessary to treat peripheral edema?
Although edema is a common symptom, it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition.
A person should seek medical assistance when fever, swollen feet, oliguria (decreased amount of urine) occurs or suffered in the past or currently manifests a liver disease.

A pregnant woman should tell the doctor if sudden worsening of the feet edema occurs. In addition, everyone should seek emergency medical service if home measures do not suceed in reducing the swelling, especially if these events are associated with breathing difficulties or chest pain.

Man With Swollen Feet

Swollen Feet


Peripheral edema is the result of abnormal fluid retention in tissues and leg muscles. Gravity naturally contributes to the concentration of water in the lower regions of the body and the standing position amplifies the effects of gravity, resulting in swollen legs, ankles and feet.
Edema can occur as a result of obstruction, injury or pressure on the existing capillaries, which forces the fluid to drain into the interstitial spaces – and the effect is swelling.

Chronic venous insufficiency. Normally, the heart pumps blood  sufficient for major systems and cells of the body through arteries. In case of edema, insufficient blood is pumped from the extremities to the lungs and heart. To stimulate blood flow to the heart from the extremeties area, calf muscles and other muscles of the legs contract and push the blood up. In addition, leg veins are equipped with valves that open in one direction and which are designed to prevent backflow of blood that might occur due to gravity. Thus, blood flows in one direction: from the periphery to the heart. In the case of chronic venous insufficiency, the valves are damaged, allowing blood to flow back and accumulate in legs tissues. Swollen legs and ankles are the first signs of chronic venous insufficiency.

Congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is a disease in which the heart muscles are weak, the heart being unable to effectively pump the blood amount that the body needs. The condition can be caused by a heart attack, damage to valves and other cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, inflammation of heart muscle, etc… Specific symptoms are legs, ankles and feet swelling, shortness of breath, fatigue and fast or irregular heartbeat.

Lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition characterized by swelling of the hands and feet, caused by blockage or dysfunction of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and is composed of tissue, lymph nodes and lymph vessels.The lymphatic vessels collects lymph throughout the body and drains it into the circulatory system. Blockage in lymphatic drainage of lymph system dysfunction  leads to lymph concentration in the interstitial space: the result is inflammation of the hands and feet.


  1. Hi, please help!!! I am a 43 year old woman who has been laid-off for almost a year now. With no medical insurance this problem feels as if it will be the death of me as I am unable to get any help or diagnosis.
    It started with swollen feet, ankles and lower legs. On the 3rd night they became bright red, hot and EXTREMELY PAINFUL, unable to bare weight on my feet. The redness/hotness was better in the morning but that night returned with a vengeance and I went to the ER. After blood test an x-ray of the chest(Iwas experiencing shortness of breath)and a doppler ultra-sound on my left leg(I had developed a large lump,size of a baseball) all were negative and my vitals were good and I was sent home. Now 5 days of swelling and almost 3 days of pain, night redness&pain/lump I am developing more lumps at an alarming rate. The 6th day I awake(after not much sleep due to pain) and I now have fluid filled lumps all over my body and the lumps are causing bruising now, my hands are now inflammed and red as well. I return to the ER where they do more lab work and an EKG. All test come back normal and my vitals are good so I am sent home. I woke this morning( 7 days now), only 1 new lump, hands are red and so very painful and I can barely walk. Any ideas besides hitting the lottery so I am able to go to a doctor because I’m not sure how much more I can take. I am almost positive I will not survive this(could be over re-acting)but any suggestions on what to do to relieve any of this or a possible diagnosis? I know there are 100’s, oh and I have not had a fever.
    Thank You in advance, Stacy L. Mangan

    PS- I am noticing a slight problem with swallowing and my voice changing.

  2. Are you allergic to something? As any irritant such as a chemical or a certain plant to which you are overly sensitive? Before the swelling and the lumps did you came into contact with something that might be considered an allergen (substance that can trigger an allergic reaction)?

    The common causes of swollen feet are chronic venous insufficiency (which the Doppler exam ruled out), congestive heart failure (which your EKG test ruled out), lymphedema that can be caused by – lymphedema tarda, an infection – ruled out by your blood tests, cancer or radition therapy. Personally I to believe that it is an exaggerated allergic reaction. Also I must inform you that I am not a doctor yet, I am a 4th year medical stundent.
    If you have further questions or details to add , I am here to help you as much as i can. Best Regards, Riciu Andrei

  3. Hi, Thank You very much for getting back to me. To my knowledge I have not come into contact with anything new or different. I do not drink or do drugs, I do smoke about half pack of cigarettes a day and have not switched brands. The one thing I have changed is I have been dieting rather hard(starving myself)for about 5-6 weeks now and am positive I am not getting the amount of calories or vitamins my body needs. I also woke up about 6-7 weeks ago and I had a spot, the length of my left eyebrow, that was numb and the numbness receded back to the crown of my scalp. It was very strange as I do not remember falling or hitting my head on anything. I have noticed within the last 3-4 hours the left side of my face is tingling and has a slight slump downwards and the left scalp is getting goosebumps. Also my lips started turning purple yesterday but only in the corners and tonight around 11 I noticed the purple is now lined all the way around my lips on the outside as if a woman who lines her lips with an lipstick pencil. I’m going to laydown now and I hope I wake up, but you have made me feel a little better that it is possibly an allergic reaction. I don’t think you will ever know how much I appreciate you replying, it means alot to me. Thank You so much and Goodluck with your residency, Stacy L. Mangan

  4. Hi Stacy, apart from an allergy, the symptoms you have may be caused by an autoimmune disease that affects your connective tissue. There are many diseases that can also give symptoms similar to yours, but I think it could be morphea, a disease that affects your skin and subcutaneous tissue by the appearance of indurated plaques, accompanied by fluid-filled blisters, that can occur on any part of the body (hands, legs, head, chest, abdomen, back). Other symptoms that can be found in this disease are dyspnea, cranial nerve paralysis, headache, trigeminal neuralgia (this nerve innervates an important part of the facial skin and facial muscles) and muscular weakness. In this disease, most often blood tests are normal, or may be a slight eosinophilia, and ECG and radiological examinations are normal. I would recommend you to go to a specialist in rheumatology. I know that you don’t have a medical insurance and this consultation could cost you very much and for this reason I want to tell you that this was may first suspicion when I read your comments and I am not a doctor yet, I am a 4th year medical student, so I might not be right. I want you to inform, as much as you can, about this disease, called morphea and other connective tissue diseases, because I don’t want you to go to the specialist and find out you had an exaggerated allergic reaction, because I understand your situation with your medical insurance. I wish you all the best, Victor Smida

  5. […] of angiotensin converting inhibitors may help reduce leg edema as a side effect of […]

  6. […] Swollen Feet – Risk Factors, Prevention And Causes – In the hot days of summer, at high temperatures, the body reacts in different ways. In hot weather, some parts of the body retain excess water and swell. Under the effect of gravity, swelling is most obvious in the lower part of the legs: leg, ankle and … […]

  7. “”””””help please””””‘
    bumps or reddish skin knot or swellon itchy was formed on my mothers lower leg now today around 15 days it has travelled upto theigh.previously around 30 days her feets were swellon very much.what should we do

    previously her eosinophil count was high and now wbc count is high

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