Feet swelling is a common problem for many. It can be seen in higher prevalence among the elderly or else in people who are bedridden and are restricted in their mobility. In most of us, it can appear as an incidental event which does not seem to be linked with any apparent reason and which would not even last over night.
But, there are many specific causes identified in making your feet swell. Some of these causes can be dangerous events in your body and some might be totally benign. In any case, unless the underlying cause can be obviously identified, further investigations needed to be done to exclude any dangerous and life threatening causes.
In principle, the swelling of the feet will demarcate the accumulation of fluids in the tissues outside the blood vessels but, most often, it is the result of impaired drainage of blood or lymph from the feet. In other instances, if the body fails to excrete adequate amounts of fluids, in order to maintain the bodies fluid balance or if more fluid has been pumped in to the system, there is a possibility that the feet swelling could occur. Apart from these, most of the local insults to the feet could also give rise to feet swelling due to the ensuing inflammatory reaction, tissue damage…etc. Therefore, such injuries can range from a mild soft tissue injury to a serious fracture or a sprain.
Another important fact that needs to be considered would be the feet being the most dependent part in the body. Thus, the fluid in the lower part of the leg needs to overcome the gravitational forces in order to make it back to the heart. If the body is in a compromised state or else inadequate pumping is taking place, these persons can develop feet swelling due to gravitational forces.
Let us now see some of the common instances where a person might experience feet swelling as well as the mechanism of such swelling.
Prolonged traveling – Blood pooling due to inadequate pumping
Prolonged standing – Blood pooling due to inadequate pumping
Being bedridden – Poor venous drainage
Pregnancy – Fluid retention in the body, compression of venous drainage, high blood pressure
Heart failure – Inadequate pumping of blood
Kidney failure – Fluid retention due to inadequate excretion
Liver failure – Increased ability of the fluid to flow from the intravascular compartment to the extravascular tissues due to low protein levels in the blood.
Varicose veins – Ineffective venous drainage
Trauma – Tissue damage, bleeding, inflammatory reaction, increased flow to the injured site
Obesity – fluid retention, organ failure, compression of the venous drainage
Laymphatic edema – blockage of lymph drainage
Infection – Increased regional blood flow, increased vascular permeability, inflammatory reactions
Although these are the main reasons for feet swelling, the list is no means a complete one. Thus, if you detect prolonged feet swelling, it’s always best to seek medical advice from your physician.