We here in the Coachella Valley know all about swelling—we experience it every winter, when snowbirds and tourists increase the seasonal population by perhaps as much as 40 percent.
Though the population here is currently on the way back down, you may have experienced swelling of an entirely different sort—specifically in your feet and ankles. Swelling in your lower limbs—also known as peripheral edema—is common among the older population, as well as pregnant women, those who are overweight, or those who have been standing or sitting for long periods of time (such as during a road trip or flight).
Fortunately, there are some handy tricks to help you alleviate swelling in your feet. One easy step is to elevate your feet when you’re sitting or lying down—the main reason fluids pool in your feet and ankles is gravity, so work against it. If you have to sit or stand for long periods of time (such as at work), make sure you take regular breaks to move around. Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight, especially in the legs or around the thighs.
A few lifestyle changes can also help prevent future swelling. Two of the best are maintaining a healthy bodyweight and getting plenty of exercise for your feet and legs. Another is limiting your salt intake—too much salt can cause excess fluid to build up inside your body, which then pools in the feet.
Although swelling is usually painless and may just be a situational occurrence, it can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such diabetes, venous insufficiency, blood clots, and heart, kidney, or liver failure. If your legs are swelling frequently, or you notice other symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness, fever, or unusually warm skin, call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for a complete evaluation. Our office is located in Palm Desert, CA, and you can set up an appointment online or by dialing (760) 568 – 0108.
Photo Credit: marin via reedigitalphotos.net