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What are the Most Common Causes of Red Swollen Feet?

A. Pasbjerg
By
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

A person will typically develop red swollen feet due to one of several common causes. An injury to one or both feet can cause them to become swollen and inflamed. Edema, or fluid retention, is another common culprit which may be caused by a number of things. Circulatory issues and blood clots are also frequently to blame. Red swollen feet may also be the result of infection, being overweight, or taking certain medications.

Many people get swollen, red feet when they have obtained some type of injury to their feet. Strains or blunt force trauma may cause damage to the tissues in one or both feet, which can in turn cause them to redden and swell. Sprains, fractures, or dislocations in the feet or ankles can have the same effect.

Another issue that frequently causes red swollen feet is when fluid accumulates there, a condition called edema. Edema can be the result of a variety of situations and conditions, some of more concern than others. People who spend long periods of time standing or even sitting may be prone to it. Pregnant women are also likely to develop edema in their feet, though for some it can also be a symptom of preeclampsia. It may also indicate a more serious underlying medical condition, such as heart, liver, or kidney disease.

Problems within the circulatory system are another common cause of red swollen feet. Blood may pool in the feet due to a condition known as venous insufficiency. This is when blood cannot get back to the heart from the veins in the feet efficiently. People with varicose veins may be particularly prone to this issue. Blood clots can also form in the feet, which will cause the nearby tissues to get swollen and red.

There are a number of other issues which can also result in red swollen feet. Certain types of infections cause swelling and inflammation in the feet. One common example is cellulitis, a bacterial infection that typically afflicts the skin on the lower extremities by entering the body through a cut or insect bite.

People who are overweight or obese may tend to be at higher risk of getting swollen feet. A number of different drugs also have swollen, red feet as a potential side effect. These include steroids and hormones, some types of blood pressure medications, and several types of antidepressants.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A. Pasbjerg
By A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a The Health Board contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
Discussion Comments
By Ahmerus — On Dec 29, 2013

Swelling in the feet and ankles that produce pain, without a prior injury such as a sprain, may be a sign of a more serious condition. If the swollen area is warm to the touch or if loss of function occurs, (aside from a previous injury) see a health professional to rule out a blood clot.

By SpecialBug — On Dec 28, 2013

Prolonged standing can cause foot problems and will often produce swollen feet and legs. How does someone know when to be concerned, since the condition can also point to something more serious?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a The Health Board contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
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