Getting regular exercise or losing weight if necessary treats swollen feet, reports Prevention. Stretching legs and moving around every couple of hours when sitting or standing in one position for a long period of time, wearing support hose and reducing salt intake also help treat swollen feet. Elevating the feet slightly above the heart can alleviate swollen feet, reports MedicineNet.com.
Avoiding smoking and alcohol usage can prevent swelling, notes MedicineNet. Swelling is typically reversible without lasting effects. Swollen feet can cause pain during walking or running, and chronic swelling may cause the skin to change colors or lead to ulcers. The ulcers may become infected, which can lead to abscess formation, necrotizing fasciitis, cellulitis or death.
Swollen feet, or peripheral edema, occurs when blood escapes from capillaries and accumulates in tissues, explains Prevention. Being overweight, standing for long periods, and long rides in cars or planes can cause swollen feet. Warm weather and menstrual periods can also lead to swollen feet. In addition, swollen feet can be a side effect of certain prescription medications, or a more serious underlying issue, such as heart or kidney failure, can cause the condition.
If swelling is the result of certain underlying causes, a physician may recommend urgent treatment, notes MedicineNet. Causes such as preeclampsia during pregnancy, liver or kidney failure, foot and ankle fractures, and abscesses warrant immediate treatment. Swelling due to cellulitis or gout or congestive heart failure exacerbations also require urgent treatment.