Please help me keep my feet from swelling.
December 14, 2011 8:06 PM   Subscribe

For the second day in a row, my feet and ankles have swollen up at the end of the day (the swelling went away overnight). Why might this be happening, and what can I do to stop it?

I haven't changed my routine in any noticeable way within these two days. A few weeks ago I started a volunteer job where I'm on my feet for four hours straight three days a week, but I haven't had any swelling till yesterday, and today wasn't a volunteering day.

How can I make the swelling go away—permanently?
posted by ocherdraco to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you been eating more salt than usual? Could you be pregnant? How are your shoes?
posted by bq at 8:10 PM on December 14, 2011

Purely anecdotal, but I find that my feet and hands swell in the late afternoon if I'm not hydrated enough. Drinking copious amounts of water throughout the day helps.
posted by Jacob G at 8:10 PM on December 14, 2011

Response by poster: Have you been eating more salt than usual?

I don't think so, but I can certainly cut down.

Could you be pregnant?

It is technically possible, but highly unlikely.

How are your shoes?

My everyday shoes are these Merrell Barefoots (and have been since the summer; I've got two rotating pairs). On volunteer days, I wear my L.L. Bean duck boots.

I find that my feet and hands swell in the late afternoon if I'm not hydrated enough.

I will keep that in mind.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:18 PM on December 14, 2011

absolutely make sure you're drinking enough water. if you have recently started a new medication, that could also be causing it.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:29 PM on December 14, 2011

Where are you in your cycle? It's possible that a combination of PMS and your new standing routine are leading to more water retention than normal.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:38 PM on December 14, 2011

Response by poster: I'm on continuous HBC, right now, so I essentially don't have a cycle.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2011

Are you overweight? Obesity can cause the feet and ankles to swell. Fat compresses the veins.

Do you have varicose veins?

Good luck.
posted by Fairchild at 9:00 PM on December 14, 2011

I just started getting this last summer. It can be a sign of heart failure and you should consult a doctor and I am not one. I'm overweight and 43. Try to cut down on salty food; drink lots of water; put your feet up, several times a day, for ten or twenty minutes. Mine was kind Os shocking and grotesque off and on for a couple of months and now is intermittent and less severe.

If it really bothers you, you can buy expensive compression stockings, if you don't feel enough like an old lady already.
posted by Occula at 9:13 PM on December 14, 2011

Have you been especially upright a lot? I have a crap career that often requires me to be upright but seated (in a chair at a desk) for 10-12+ hours, and when I do that my ankles swell badly. I am also overweight and nearly 40, and it gets worse with age. Activity and upright-ness will help.

But if you've noticed this change very abruptly with no real change in weight and habits, you should probably see a doctor to investigate blood pressure and diabetes possibilities. For me, getting up and walking around even 15 minutes out of every 6 hours is enough to make a dramatic difference. If that isn't true for you, investigate further.

In the meantime, put your feet up when you can and/or use compression stockings.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If it stays around I'd go see a doctor but a few weeks isn't that long for your body to get used to long periods of standing which can lead to swollen feet and ankles, in my case it's made worse if I am standing still or just behind a small counter. I'd suggest trying some compression socks like you would use for plane traveling, there are expensive compression socks for this but I've had good luck with the $10-20 travel socks when I am doing any long standing. So it might be worth a try and see if that helps. You can get them in very plain colours so no one will thing they are anything other than socks. IANAD etc, but if it doesn't go away or starts to concern you I'd go see a doctor to rule out any other underlying cause.
posted by wwax at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2011

Have you been tired lately? I have had my thyroid removed 6 or 7 years ago and when I skip my levoxyl my feet and ankles swell. So maybe you have low thyroid hormone?
posted by majortom1981 at 4:41 AM on December 15, 2011

Foot, Leg, and Ankle swelling

If it doesn't go away, I agree that you should see a doctor.
posted by Miko at 5:36 AM on December 15, 2011

I had this happen in the summer. It was a combination of three things - severe dehydration, airplane ride, and sitting on a bar stool that cut off circulation to my legs. My ankles swelled up like balloons and hurt like hell. Perhaps you have a similar confluence of circumstances?
posted by LN at 7:38 AM on December 15, 2011

I had a problem with swelling, after being on my feet a great deal. My doctor checked my kidney function, which was normal. I was still having problems, but then a light went on, and I started using a non-aspirin pain-killer. Aspirin is processed through the kidneys, problem got much better after switching. YMMV
posted by annsunny at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2011

My ankles swell every afternoon; my doctor diagnosed venous insufficiency, a.k.a., leaky valves in your legs that aren't very good at pumping blood back up your legs. I've found that exercise is the only thing that helps me; the more exercise I do, the less I swell. Walking is the best exercise for this, for me anyway.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:34 AM on December 15, 2011

I discovered that naproxen sodium makes my feet swell up like basketballs.
posted by telophase at 12:50 PM on December 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I'm going to cut down on sodium, focus on hydrating, and excercise more. We'll see how things go.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2011

Response by poster: FYI, when I got home from volunteering today, I took a nap with my feet up. I've also walked extra today, and made sure I had lots of fluids. And ta-da! No edema tonight. I'll keep an eye on this, but I think those three things might do the trick.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:32 AM on December 16, 2011

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