Swollen Feet? Why They Happen and What to do About Them

Like most people, you’ve probably been more idle and sitting for more hours than you’re used to during the past few months. Or maybe, your work hours have demandingly increased and you’re on your feet all day. While the pandemic has given people a good reason to relax and slow the crazy pace at which we live, it also has given us swollen feet. It has also tempted us to eat more junk food as we sat at home more, and this can also hurt the situation.

Proper blood circulation in the feet, as well as everywhere else in our body, is important for many reasons. Read further to learn about the benefits of good blood circulation in the feet and what a difference having healthy feet can make in your life. 


Blood circulation basics

The body’s circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, supplies our cells with oxygen and various nutrients. The heart is the leader of this dynamic and stunning system, with the blood vessels acting as messengers throughout the rest of our body. Our arteries carry blood away from our heart and our veins bring blood back to the heart. Every new heartbeat starts this cycle all over again, ensuring that we receive the right amount of oxygen while getting rid of waste (ie carbon dioxide). 

Are swollen feet bad?

Swollen feet, or edema, is just one symptom of poor blood circulation. There are many others such as cold hands and feet and a bluish tint to our nails and skin that indicate a problem with our circulation. Swollen feet can be caused by an underlying health issue such as diabetes or heart problems – or they can happen to relatively healthy people, such as pregnant women who just have larger amounts of fluid retention in their body.

One common reason behind swollen feet is being on our feet all day or, the opposite, sitting in one position for a long period of time. And if you have poor circulation, the problem can be more intense and visible. In this case, fluids tend to pool in the bottom of your feet since your veins aren’t doing their job to supply blood back to the heart, resulting in puffy feet. 

How to protect your feet from swelling

If your swollen feet are caused by an underlying health condition, you will most likely experience other symptoms, like the ones mentioned above. If that’s the case, it’s best to seek medical attention to rule out a dangerous issue. However, if puffy feet happen to you regularly without a more serious medical cause to blame, the problem can be inactivity in the feet and rest of the body. 

When you sit or stand for long periods of time, blood collects at the bottom of the feet, putting added pressure on the blood vessels and causes them to swell. This causes your feet to look more swollen than usual.

Here are some easy tips to relieve swollen feet from over or under use such as sitting or standing all day.

  • Opt to wear special support socks if you can. Compression socks can help increase blood flow and are a great option if you are on your feet a lot.
  • At the end of the day, lay down with a support pillow under your feet or calves so that your legs are higher than your heart.
  • If the issue is caused by sitting a lot, go for a walk to keep your feet, and blood, moving.
  • You may not realize this but cutting your salt intake (especially if you consume a lot of it) can help minimize swollen feet.
  • Lastly, consider if any of the medications you are one cause swollen feet and adjust your dose under supervision of your doctor. 

As always, if your feet are hurting for any reason, make sure to call our Evanston office – Evanston Podiatric Surgeons at 847-475-9030, or Downtown Chicago office –Mag Mile Foot and Ankle Institute at 312-236-3507. Our care options for foot injuries and pain include some of the most cutting-edge procedures and technologies available!

To learn more about Chicago DPM, visit our About Us page or Contact Us Today!