Legs, ankles, and feet swell when excess fluid is pulled down by gravity and builds up in the lower body. This is called edema and it’s common in older adults and usually happens on both sides of the body. It can be caused by a variety of health conditions including heart failure, kidney disease, gout, and arthritis.
Some tips that may help reduce swelling:
When should you call the doctor? “Report your symptoms to your doctor if there’s so much swelling that it leaves an indentation if you press your finger into it, or if it has developed suddenly, lasts for more than a few days, affects just one foot, or is accompanied by pain or discoloration of the skin,” Dr.
Swelling by itself is not usually a sign of heart, liver, or kidney disease. However, people with swelling that also experience a loss of appetite, weight gain, and fatigue should talk to a doctor. Shortness of breath or chest pain should always trigger a 911 call.
If left untreated, edema can lead to increasingly painful swelling, stiffness, difficulty walking, stretched or itchy skin, skin ulcers, scarring, and decreased blood circulation.
The best weapon in the fight against swollen legs is a simple one: walking. Getting your legs moving means circulation is improved which will sweep up that collected fluid and get it shifted.
Stay Hydrated – dehydration causes the constriction of blood vessels leading to the forcing of fluids into the extracellular spaces between cells leading to retention particularly in the lower limbs.
If your swelling is accompanied by other symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight gain, see your doctor right away. If you feel short of breath or have chest pain, pressure, or tightness, call 911.
Medications that may cause the feet to swell include:
Lifestyle and home remedies
Swelling of the feet is a common sign of heart failure. You may also notice swelling in your legs, ankles, and stomach. Many things can cause swelling, so it’s important to see your doctor to diagnose the cause.
When to Seek Care for Swelling If you experience swelling that does not go away on its own, make an appointment to see your primary doctor. If the issue doesn’t improve, ask your doctor for a referral to a vascular specialist. Duke offers a special Limb Swelling Clinic for just these kinds of issues.
Tips to reduce ankle and foot swelling Simple lifestyle changes — such as exercise and weight loss — also can help reduce or prevent swelling while also improving your overall health, says Dr. Botek. She suggested activities such as walking and swimming.
High blood pressure can impair the function of the kidneys, leading to fluid retention and swelling of the legs, and even kidney failure.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day Though it might seem counterintuitive, getting enough fluids actually helps reduce swelling. When your body isn’t hydrated enough, it holds onto the fluid it does have. This contributes to swelling.