6 Possible Reasons Why You Have Swollen Feet

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
6 possible reasions why you have swollen feet

Swollen feet can be more than just uncomfortable; they can signal that something might be amiss in your overall health. While occasional swelling is normal, persistent puffiness can indicate underlying issues requiring medical attention.

6 Reasons Why Your Feet Are Swelling

You may have swollen feet for many reasons, from underlying medical issues to common everyday reasons. Understanding why your feet are swelling is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.

While it's normal to have swollen feet occasionally, the causes can range from everyday factors to underlying medical conditions. From the impact of prolonged periods of inactivity to the importance of proper footwear and the potential implications of medication, this exploration provides insights into the multifaceted nature of swollen feet.

So, let's dive into the various aspects that could influence your foot health and discover ways to address and prevent swelling for a more comfortable and active lifestyle.

Activity, Movement, and Injury

One of the most common reasons for swollen feet is spending extended periods on your feet without adequate movement. Prolonged standing can lead to poor circulation in the lower extremities due to your job or lifestyle, causing inflammation that encourages swelling.

As with standing for too long, blood and fluids can accumulate in your feet, causing them to swell if you're sitting or stationary for too long. When you're inactive, gravity pulls fluid down towards your lower extremities, causing them to accumulate in your feet and ankles.

You may notice excessive swelling in your feet or ankles after long periods of standing or sitting if you have underlying conditions like chronic venous insufficiency or lymphatic drainage issues.

Make a conscious effort to take short breaks during your day, stretch your legs, and change your position regularly. Simple exercises like ankle circles and toe taps can help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling.

Injuries to the feet, toes, and ankles, like sprains, strains, and fractures, can all cause swelling. See a medical professional if you may have fractured a bone or have bruising and swelling after an accident or injury.

Poor-fitting Footwear

Your shoes play a significant role in the health of your feet. Ill-fitting shoes, a long day in high heels, or shoes without proper arch support can lead to many problems, including swelling.

Shoes that lack proper arch support or don't provide adequate cushioning can strain the muscles and ligaments in your feet, resulting in inflammation and swelling. Shoes that are too tight or too small can restrict blood circulation in the feet and lead to tissue fluid buildup, causing swelling.

Invest in comfortable, supportive shoes that fit well and provide proper arch support. Avoid wearing high heels for extended periods, and opt for shoes with a wider toe box to allow your toes to move freely.

Being active or working out with shoes with insufficient shock absorption may transmit excessive impact forces to the feet, causing joint stress, inflammation, and swelling.

When your feet lack proper support, it can strain the muscles and impede blood circulation. It’s important to have shoes that fit well, provide arch support, and are breathable and comfortable.

Vein Health

Swollen feet that don’t respond to self-care or lifestyle changes can indicate potential vein conditions. Chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where the veins struggle to return blood to the heart due to damaged valves in the blood vessels, can cause accumulated fluid in the lower extremities. Chronic venous insufficiency can cause swelling, discomfort, and even the development of varicose veins.

If you notice persistent swelling in the feet or ankles or the appearance of new varicose veins in your lower legs and thighs, consult with your vein specialist to rule out vein disease or chronic venous insufficiency.

At Center for Vein Restoration, our vein specialists can conduct tests to assess the health of your veins and recommend appropriate interventions to improve circulation. Poor blood circulation, often due to damaged veins, can cause fluid to accumulate in the lower extremities.

Swelling may indicate problems with blood circulation or the lymphatic system. Conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or lymphedema can lead to swelling, and early detection is crucial for proper management and prevention of complications.

Seek medical attention if you’re experiencing a sudden onset of swelling in the feet along with other symptoms such as:

  • Chest pains

  • Shortness of breath

  • Confusion

  • Pain in the foot or calf

  • Discoloration of the skin accompanied by warmth or heat

You may be experiencing a medical emergency such as a blood clot or a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If you’re concerned you or a loved one may be experiencing a DVT, Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) provides DVT rule-out services, bringing you answers and relief you need. Avoid lengthy waits and expensive ER visits with Center for Vein Restoration.

Our DVT rule-out services include a scan, anticoagulation treatment, education, and all the necessary follow-ups. Reach out to the DVT hotline at 877-SCAN-DVT (844-568-3691) to avail of these services.


Edema is a medical term for abnormal fluid accumulation in tissues, a common cause of swollen feet. This condition can be a result of various health conditions, including heart failure, kidney disease, or liver problems. Edema often leads to generalized swelling, which can indicate an underlying health issue when it affects the feet.

Consult a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing swelling in your feet that doesn’t respond to self-care or lifestyle changes, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or liver problems. Treating the underlying condition can help alleviate swelling in the feet.

Diet and Lifestyle Factors

Your diet and lifestyle can significantly impact your body's water balance and contribute to foot swelling. Excessive salt intake is a common culprit, leading to water retention.

Carrying excess weight, especially around the lower extremities, can increase pressure on the veins in the legs and feet. This pressure can hinder the normal circulation of blood and fluids, causing fluid retention and swelling in the feet and ankles.

Obesity is often associated with other health conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, which can also contribute to swelling in the extremities. These conditions can affect the blood vessels and lead to fluid accumulation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chemical compounds in cigarette smoke can irritate the blood vessels, causing them to narrow after becoming inflamed and swollen, which can cause swelling and inflammation in the lower extremities, feet, and ankles.

Medication Side Effects

Certain medications may have side effects, including swelling of the feet. Common culprits include some blood pressure medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and oral contraceptives.

Tell your medical provider immediately if you're experiencing any swelling after starting a new medication, including swelling in the face, feet, ankles, or lower extremities. Only discontinue medicines after consulting your healthcare provider. If you suspect your medication is causing swelling, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative medication.

How Do I Treat Feet Swelling?

If you’re experiencing persistent or mild swelling in your feet and ankles, talk to your vein specialist about the underlying causes, as you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency or vein disease. You can make some lifestyle changes to alleviate the discomfort of swelling feet as well, including:


Raise your feet above the level of your heart whenever possible to help reduce swelling by allowing excess fluid to drain away from your feet.

Keep Hydrated

Proper hydration can help prevent water retention, which can contribute to swollen feet. Drink enough water throughout the day, avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages, and limit salt intake.

Compression Stockings

Consider wearing compression stockings or socks to help improve circulation and reduce swelling.

Get Adequate Exercise

Regular physical activity like walking or swimming can help improve circulation and reduce fluid retention. Make sure to incorporate gentle exercises into your routine.

Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing

If your job requires long periods of sitting or standing, try to take breaks and change your position regularly to help prevent fluid from pooling in your feet.

Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet

Reduce your sodium intake, as excessive salt can contribute to fluid retention. Include potassium-rich foods, such as bananas and spinach, in your diet. Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while minimizing processed foods high in salt. Stay hydrated, and consider consulting a nutritionist to ensure you're getting the right mix of nutrients to support overall health. A healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce the strain on your feet, and improve overall circulation.

Foot Exercises

Simple exercises like ankle circles, toe stretches, and calf raises can help improve blood flow and reduce swelling.

Foot Soaks

Soaking your feet in warm water and Epsom salt may relieve swelling caused by foot fatigue, sprains, or a long day on your feet. However, consult a healthcare professional if you have any existing health conditions, especially chronic wounds, diabetes, or venous eczema, before using a foot soak.

Expert Vein Care with Center for Vein Restoration

If you have concerns about swelling in your feet and ankles, contact Center for Vein Restoration.

For personalized guidance on insurance coverage, connect with a Patient Services Representative at 240-965-3915 or request an appointment online.

With convenient access to expert care at over 110 locations across the U.S., Center for Vein Restoration is here to assist you. Our dedicated vein specialists will guide you through personalized treatments, alleviating discomfort and ensuring your unique needs are met.

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