Swollen feet are often caused by a build up of a fluid called oedema. You’ll know you have oedema if your ankles, feet or legs appear swollen, puffy, or the skin is shiny, stretched or red.
Oedema commonly builds up in the feet, ankles, legs, and is caused by:
• Standing or sitting in the same position for too long
• Eating too much salty food
• Being overweight
• Being pregnant
• Taking certain medicines – such as some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, antidepressants or steroids
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However, oedema could also be caused by:
• An injury – such as a strain or sprain
• An insect bite or sting
• Problems with your kidneys, liver or heart
• B blood clot
• An infection
How to get rid of swollen feet
Swollen feet should go down in a few days without treatment, but there are things you can do to speed it up.
The NHS recommends:
Lie down and use pillows to raise the swollen area when you can
Get some gentle exercise, like walking, to improve your blood flow
Wear wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole
Wash, dry and moisturise your feet to avoid infections
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What makes swollen feet worse?
Whatever you do do, don’t do the following:
• Do not stand or sit for long periods of time
• Do not wear clothes, socks or shoes that are too tight
If your symptoms haven’t improved after a few days, see a GP.
Does drinking water help?
Sometimes drinking lots of water will help, but it depends on the cause of your swollen feet.
Drinking alcohol can lead to swollen feet because your body retains more water after drinking.
If that’s why your feet are swollen, drinking lots of water or even soaking your feet in cool water could help.
When it’s hot, fluids collect in the ankles and feet. So remember to stay hydrated and soak your feet in cool water if needed.