Struggling with Swelling: Dealing with Edema

When you fill a dry sponge with water, the material quickly absorbs the liquid and expands. The sponge continues to grow in size until it can’t hold any more fluids. Your body tissues can act similarly. They also increase in size if enough liquid moves in and takes up space in the soft tissues. Your feet and legs are particularly prone to this problem.

Ballooning Feet and Legs

Swelling, also known as edema, is excess fluid trapped in your soft tissues. This develops most commonly in your extremities, especially your feet and ankles, where gravity pulls the fluid down into the limbs. The liquid leaks into your body tissues from your capillaries, or tiny blood vessels.  Many different issues can cause swelling.  The most common cause of foot & leg swelling is venous insufficiency when the elasticity of the veins that carry blood back to the heart is compromised.

Edema is a problem you can usually see. You may notice one area of your foot appears puffy and larger than normal. Sometimes your skin seems stretched or shiny. The area may be tender to the touch, especially if the issue is associated with an injury. The increased foot size could make wearing normal shoes and socks very uncomfortable for you. If the skin around the swollen spot is red or hot to the touch, an infection may be involved, which will require prompt treatment.

Slimming Down the Swelling

If you regularly struggle with swelling in your feet and ankles, you should know that it’s not normal. Country Foot Care’s doctors will evaluate your lower limbs, determine what is causing the edema, and suggest the best way to handle it. Our staff will need to perform tests to check for injuries and medical conditions that could be causing the problem. Any issues that exist will need to be addressed to reduce the swelling and discomfort you experience in order to return your foot to normal.

Elevating your feet, so the fluid drains more easily, also helps with swelling. Several times a day, spend a couple minutes with your feet raised above the level of your heart. Exercise may help—the motion in your muscles and other soft tissues will force out some of the fluid trapped in them. It simply needs to be undertaken carefully. You may need to wear support or compression stockings like the ones sold in our Medical Shoe Store to control swelling. You might also need to cut down on your salt consumption and lose some weight to manage edema.

If your feet swell regularly, especially if you aren’t sure of the cause, don’t wait to investigate the source and begin to eliminate the problem. The sooner you treat your feet, the sooner you’ll have relief. Call Country Foot Care in NY for more information or to make an appointment or use the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page.