Swollen feet


A swelling of the feet means an increase in circumference, for example due to a Inflammation, water in the legs, or a build-up of lymph can arise. The triggering causes can be varied. Often, swelling in the area of ​​the feet also affects the lower legs. she can one or both sides occur.


As mentioned above, there are various causes of foot or feet swelling.

One possible cause is one injury of the foot. If ligaments are overstretched or torn or a bone fracture occurs in the area of ​​the foot, the affected area often swells. In addition, the foot is usually tender on pressure in the area of ​​the injury or mobility is limited.

Another possible cause of a unilateral Swelling of the foot can be a thrombosis be. This occurs when a blood clot obstructs a venous vessel. This then leads to a backlog of blood, the affected area swells and is often tender on pressure. In most cases, thrombosis is more likely to be located in the lower leg, but it can also be accompanied by swelling of the foot.

One reason for one bilateral Foot swelling can be an example Lymphatic congestion be. One then speaks of one Lymphedema. The lymphatic fluid can no longer drain off sufficiently and thus leads to swelling.If the swelling is lymphedema, the skin on the toes typically cannot be lifted off.

Also one Heart disease can become a bilateral Cause foot swelling. A Heart failure (Heart failure) means that the heart can no longer pump the blood transported in the body sufficiently quickly and vigorously, resulting in a Stowage. This is noticeable, for example, in the legs and feet. If a weak heart is the cause of the swelling of the feet, the lower legs are usually swollen as well.


In order to make the correct diagnosis, the attending physician usually provides a few ask. For example, when the swelling occurred, whether it occurs on one or both sides, whether there has been trauma, whether there is pain in the feet at the same time and what pre-existing conditions there are. After this so-called anamnesis follows the physical examination. The doctor examines the swollen area, checks whether the foot can move normally and whether there is pressure pain. Further examinations can also be carried out: A Blood testto look for levels of inflammation or a marker of thrombosis (D-dimer), one Ultrasound examination of the legs to rule out thrombosis or an ultrasound scan of the heart to rule out cardiac insufficiency. In the case of an injury as the trigger for the complaints, taking an X-ray can be helpful in making the diagnosis.


Swelling in the feet can spread to the legs, e.g. if it is caused by a weak heart.

If swollen feet occur, further symptoms can occur depending on the cause. A thrombosis can lead to (pressure)pain, for example in the area of ​​the soles of the feet, and the skin can feel tight. In the case of an injury-related swelling, there is often an accompanying Restriction of movement due to the pain in the affected foot. If the cause is heart failure, those affected occasionally complain too Shortness of breath and reduced performance.

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The treatment of swollen feet depends largely on the cause. If an injury is responsible for the swelling, the treatment is usually treated with cooling, rest and painkillers. Depending on the type of injury, further diagnostics must be carried out.

If there is a thrombosis, blood thinning must be started and this must be taken continuously for at least a few months. This is usually combined with compression therapy, i.e. wearing compression stockings.

If the heart is weak as the cause of the swelling, drug treatment is usually used. Among other things, dehydrating drugs are used here.

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The duration of the swelling also depends on the root cause from and on whether therapy is initiated. Swelling caused by a weak heart usually slowly recedes within a few days after starting drug therapy. The swelling in a thrombosis often lasts for a longer period of time; compression therapy is helpful here to contain it. Not infrequently, however, remains a slight one Circumference difference to the unaffected foot. If the cause of the swelling is an injury, cooling in the acute stage helps to contain the swelling somewhat. However, it will usually not go away completely until the injury has healed. After a major injury, a Lingering swelling.

Swelling of the feet and legs

If there is swelling of the feet, the legs are often also affected, especially the legs Lower leg (see: swollen legs). Typical causes of swelling in both lower legs and feet can be one Lymphedema or a cardiac edema be. Cardiac edema is caused by a weak heart. If the drug therapy is optimized, the swelling that occurs in the context of a weak heart goes back quickly.

Lymphedema is in the initial stages, for example by means of regular Lymphatic drainage treatable, but the swelling often returns.

Even with a thrombosis, not only the foot, but also the lower leg, and sometimes the thigh, is usually affected. It can become a overheat of the affected leg section as well as one Tenderness come in the area of ​​the sole of the foot, calf or hollow of the knee.

Swelling caused by a weakness in the venous system of the legs often leads to swelling of the legs and feet. When the veins are no longer able to carry the blood in the legs back to the heart, it builds up in the legs and they swell. One or both sides can be affected. Often the affected leg is in the area of ​​the lower leg or ankle discolored bluish. Therapeutically is a consistent one Compression therapy with support stockings or bandages as well as sufficient physical activity to recommend.

Overheating of swollen feet

If the swelling of the foot is accompanied by overheating, this can have several causes. At a injury there is often overheating, as the injured tissue is supplied with more blood in order to accelerate the healing process. Even if there is one thrombosis the affected area may overheat, as the warm blood cannot be removed.

Swollen feet during pregnancy

Swollen feet are common complaints during pregnancy.

Swollen feet and legs are a frequently lamented problem in pregnancy. The Hormonal changes and a Increase in blood volume lead to Water retention in the legs and arms. There is no causal therapy, but the symptoms can be caused by adequate ones Move and regular Elevate the legs are somewhat relieved. However, the swellings in themselves have no disease value.

Swollen feet in the baby

Babies can swell their feet if they bump themselves, for example. The swelling then arises due to injury. Eventually it can be a gentle cooling of the affected foot can be helpful. Also a swelling under a Insect bite May occur. Bilateral Swelling of the feet is usually indicative of a Organ diseasesuch as a disorder of the lymphatic drainage or cardiac output. Such diseases are very rare in babies.

Swollen feet in winter

In winter, feet do not usually swell any more than usual. Summer, with its very hot temperatures, is more likely to cause slight swelling of the feet, ankles and legs.

Swollen feet from medication

There are medications that can cause swelling of the legs, especially the lower legs, as a side effect. These include above all the group of calcium channel blockers, which are used to lower blood pressure. If swelling occurs after first use of the drug, treatment with this drug should be stopped.

Swollen feet in children

In children, too, swelling of the feet can have various causes. Two are particularly common in children: One of them is one-sided swelling of the foot Insect bite. In addition to the swelling, there is often reddening in the area of ​​the puncture site, which can also be warmer than the rest of the foot. Another relatively common cause of a child's foot swelling, especially around the ankle, is one injury. Here, for example, ligaments can be overstretched, which then leads to swelling and overheating of the ankle, the children often have pain and can only move their foot to a limited extent due to the pain. Rapid cooling as well as elevation and protection usually help.

Swollen feet and ankles

A foot swelling that involves the ankle usually has no other possible causes than those listed above which include insect bites, thrombosis or diseases such as lymphedema or cardiac edema. In the case of a one-sided swelling of the ankle, swelling due to injury should always be considered, in which case there is usually additional pain and pain-related restriction of movement. If the swelling persists for a longer period of time or is accompanied by discomfort, should be a Consulted a doctor become. Cooling and regular elevation of the affected foot are often helpful.