Can Uncomfortable Shoes Cause Swelling?

Swollen and painful feet
Tight shoes are a common cause of swollen feet. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Swollen feet can be attributed to a number of medical conditions. Often, the cause may be as simple as tight, uncomfortable shoes. Wearing properly sized shoes can help reduce discomfort. Prolonged swelling, however, may indicate a more serious problem than simply wearing high heels for too long.

Causes of Swelling

Swelling in the feet is typically caused by a buildup of fluids. Also called edema, swelling can be brought on by tight, uncomfortable shoes. Diabetes or a medical condition that causes fluid retention may also make you vulnerable to foot swelling. Understand the exact cause of swelling to determine the best footwear for your condition.

Tight Shoes

Uncomfortable shoes that are tight are a common cause for swelling in the feet and legs. Tight footwear restricts blood circulation, causing a buildup in fluids in the surrounding areas. Avoid the discomfort of shoes that are too tight by wearing the correct shoe size. Don't try to "break in" shoes in a smaller size, advises the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Also, choose a shoe that conforms to the shape of your foot. If your feet are wide, choose a shoe with a wide toe box.

Other Causes of Swelling

Eating too much salt and sugar, and hormonal changes can lead to swollen legs and feet. Wearing shoes that are too tight can make the problem worse, and contribute to corns and weak ligaments and muscles. Make lifestyle changes, such as eating less processed foods and drinking more water, to help decrease swelling.

Remedies and Treatments

To help stimulate circulation in your feet after wearing tight shoes, elevate your feet above your chest. Regular exercise and frequent breaks from sitting may also help relieve swelling. Diabetics and patients with edema may also benefit from compression socks. Also called compression stockings, these tight-fitting socks stimulate blood flow to the legs and feet. If you start to develop any sores or blisters in conjunction with foot swelling, contact a doctor immediately.

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