What Makes the Top of Your Foot to Swell?

Many things can make the top of your foot to swell. Standing too long or certain serious issues like heart or kidney disease can cause this condition.

The medical term for swelling in the feet and ankles is edema. So many things can cause edema. It may happen due to high blood pressure or you may have to deal with this situation during pregnancy. This usually happens when your body cannot fight gravity to move fluids and blood back up from your legs. This causes swelling in your feet, ankles, and even legs. Some people experience this when they stay in a standing position for extended period. Keep reading to learn more about this condition.

Causes of Swelling on Top of Foot

Edema can be of two types – pitting and non-pitting.  If you press the swollen area for five seconds and the skin becomes indented, you have pitting edema. This dent won't appear in non-pitting edema. The swelling is usually painless; if it’s accompanied by pain, please consult your doctor.

Most people experience swelling on top of their foot/ feet usually due to inflammation. This inflammation may be caused by infections. In this case, you will experience warmth, redness, and pain in the affected area. Repetitive injury from running with bad shoes may also cause inflammation and swelling on the foot.

Here’s explanation on major causes of swelling on top of foot:

1. Infection and Diabetes

Swelling in the feet and ankles is sometimes a sign of infection.You are at a greater risk if you already have diabetic neuropathy or other nerve problems. People with diabetes need to see their doctors immediately after noticing any sores and blisters on feet. They do not usually feel pain due to nerve damage.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

This long-term condition causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints. You will notice your foot become stiff. The condition can be quite painful and affects other joints in your body as well.

3. Gout

It is characterized by severe attacks of redness, pain, and tenderness in joints. An attack of gout may occur suddenly, even when you are sleeping. The pain is usually so excruciating that it wakes you up in the middle of the night. It feels as if your big toe is on fire. Your affected joint will be hot to touch and tender. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids help relieve the pain. It is also important to make some lifestyle changes. For instance:

  • Limit drinks sweetened with fructose
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid food like organ meat, red meat, seafood, and other food high in purines
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight

4. Blood Clot

If a blood clot develops in the veins of the legs, it will keep blood from moving back up to the heart. This will cause swelling in the feet and ankles. Blood clots can be life threatening if they block a major vein of the legs.

5. Venous Insufficiency

Swelling on top of foot and ankles may well be an early symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition in which blood fails to move adequately from feet to the heart. This usually happens when the one-way valves that keep blood flowing upward become damaged. The blood starts to leak back down the vessels and accumulates in the soft tissue of the lower legs.

6. Complications of Pregnancy

It is normal to experience some swelling of the feet and ankles during pregnancy, but sudden swelling may well be a sign of preeclampsia, a condition in which your blood pressure rises quickly. This will also release protein in the urine after you are 20 weeks pregnant.

7. Liver, Heart, or Kidney Disease

Swelling may indicate a problem with liver, hear, or kidney. If your ankles swell in the evening, this may be because your body retains salt and water. This may happen due to right-sided heart failure. Any problems with kidneys will keep them from functioning properly, which will lead to fluid buildup in the body. Liver disease may lower the levels of albumin in the blood that keeps it from leaking out of the blood vessels.

8. Thyroid Problems

Low thyroid levels will produce symptoms such as hair loss, fatigue, dry skin, etc. This may also cause swelling on top of your foot.

9. Lymphedema

In this condition, the tissues will accumulate lymphatic fluid mainly because there is some problem with lymph vessels or you have removed your lymph nodes. This usually happens after the removal lymph nodes in cancer patients.

10. Other Causes

In addition, you may experience swelling in your feet and ankles due to aging, PMS, menstruation, and obesity. Consuming too much alcohol and diet with too much of salt may also lead to swelling. Living in high altitudes or using medications such as anti-depressants, diabetes medicines, steroids, high-estrogen birth-control pills, and calcium channel blockers may also cause swelling in legs.

When to Worry

You should talk to your doctor if your swelling persists and you experience other symptoms such as fever, pain, warmth, and redness. Seek immediate medical help if your swelling has not responded to self-care measures. Talk to your obstetrician if you are pregnant and have developed swollen feet all of a sudden.

Take a test HERE to confirm if you need to worry about your swollen feet and ankles:

Swelling On Top of Foot: Finding Relief

Now, you know that so many things can make the top of foot to swell, so it is important to identify the root cause of trouble to select the most appropriate treatment. Taking the following steps will help reduce swelling and pain:

  • Keep your legs elevated above heart level for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a day
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication and limit mobility for some time
  • Use leg wedges when sleeping
  • Wear proper footwear and use support socks
  • Drink plenty of water and limit your salt intake
  • Do not stand for extended period
  • Do not overuse drugs or laxatives

Taking these steps will help prevent swollen feet. Also, keep an eye on what causes your feet to swell. If a certain activity leads to swelling, you may want to avoid it as much as possible.  Simple lifestyle changes will go a long way in resolving the issue. 



Diovan is used to manage high blood pressure. This medication is often prescribed in addition to other medications to manage your condition.

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