Painful, swollen feet that no longer fit into shoes: seniors in particular have to struggle with this. Where the symptoms come from – and what helps.
Anyone who sits or stands for long periods of time can develop thick, heavy feet and ankles. Older people are particularly susceptible to this. They often suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. We explain which measures help against swollen feet and when it is advisable to see a doctor.
Swollen feet – that’s the cause
The most common cause of swollen feet in old age is so-called venous insufficiency. The ability of the venous system in the legs to transport used blood back to the heart is reduced. When you sit or stand still for a long time, the blood flow and fluid movements in the body also slow down. The result: The blood plasma, which consists largely of water, is pressed into the surrounding tissue and swelling occurs.
Women are more likely to suffer from swollen feet
Women are affected by this water retention – also known as edema – significantly more often than men. This is due to their softer connective tissue and the hormonal fluctuations that are triggered by menstruation, pregnancy or even menopause.
Other risk factors for swollen feet include obesity, heat and side effects of medication.
Take swollen feet seriously
Swollen feet can also be an alarm signal for a serious illness such as heart failure . Kidney or liver diseases as well as an underactive thyroid are also possible causes. If in doubt, it is better to have your symptoms clarified by a doctor.
Swollen feet become an emergency if additional symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain occur. Then you should immediately call the emergency number 112. It may be a pulmonary embolism associated with a venous thrombosis.
Which quickly helps against swollen feet
Depending on the cause of the swollen feet, different treatments can be used. Exercise is important so that the blood and fluids in the body can circulate better again and drain from the feet and legs. But you shouldn’t overdo it, a short walk is enough to remedy the situation. Then you should put your feet up.A cool foot bath or targeted cold shower can also have a pleasant effect on swollen feet. Also helpful for repeated water retention: light stretching exercises, lymphatic drainage and compression stockings. It is also important to make sure you have suitable footwear. The feet must not be restricted.