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Causes of feet and leg swelling

There are any number of thing that can cause feet and leg swelling, from staying in one position for too long to having a medical condition. Knowing the cause of your leg swelling and why feet swell can help you keep it under control and address any underlying health issues that may be contributing to it.

Kidney Problems

The kidneys are responsible for flushing toxins out of your body. When acute kidney failure occurs, the kidneys are no longer able to do that. This causes a back up of fluids, leading to swelling of the legs and feet. Chronic kidney disease has the same effect. Nephrotic syndrome is a condition that occurs when the small blood vessels that help filter the kidney sustain damage and no longer work properly

Heart Problems

The heart moves blood through the body and when it can’t do its job it can lead to many problems – feet and leg swelling is just one of the symptoms. Cardiomyopathy, which is an issue with the heart muscle itself and heart failure, which means that the heart is no longer pumping effectively. Pericarditis occurs when the tissue around the heart becomes inflamed, impairing its function. Any of these can cause swelling, especially in the extremities

Other Medical Related Causes

Certain medical conditions can cause the feet and legs to swell. Cirrhosis of the liver and lymphedema are known to cause swelling. Diabetes and high blood pressure can also cause swelling or complications of the conditions can cause swelling. Hormone therapy can also be a cause. When swelling is associated with a medical condition, it is always a good idea to let your doctor know. In some cases, it can be an indication of a complication or that the condition is getting worse.

Your Behavior

Sometimes our own behaviors can cause swelling in the body. Taking pain relievers such as naproxen or ibuprofen, as well as certain prescription medications can be a cause, especially if the medication is for diabetes. A woman who is pregnant may find that she has swollen feet and legs, especially as the pregnancy progresses and the baby gets larger, putting pressure on the organs and certain arteries. You can also experience swelling when you sit or stay on your feet for a long time.


Certain types of foods can cause fluid retention which can lead to swollen legs and feet. Foods high in salt, MSG, and sodium are well-known culprits and are found in a variety of processed foods, soda (including diet soda), and fast food. Even store-bought salad dressing and seasonings contain MSG. Caffeine is can also lead to fluid retention and low-level dehydration. One thing that many people don’t realize is that dehydration can cause fluid retention. Proper hydration means drinking plenty of water. Soda, coffee, and most teas are not appropriate for hydrating the body. Dehydration can cause swollen ankles, feet, and legs.

Vein Problems

Deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, and venous insufficiency can all lead to swelling of the lower extremities. If you have swelling in your legs and feet and suspect a vein problem – especially if it is accompanied with pain and the area feels warm to the touch – you should see a doctor as soon as possible to be evaluated.

Sometimes swelling is harmless but sometimes it can signal a serious medical problem. It is best to err on the side of caution. If you suspect a vein problem, don’t wait, call Vein911 and make an appointment today.