Why do feet swell in hot weather and how can you stop it?

We’ve spent months longing for summer only for it to hit and for us all to realise it makes us a bit miserable.

Thanks to the current heatwave sweeping the UK, you’re probably dehydrated, sweating, sunburnt and looking for ways to keep cool.

So here’s something else to add to the list of heatwave problems – swollen ankles and feet.

Yes, the high temperatures means your feet ankles will likely get bigger and puffier – but why?

Why do ankles and feet swell in the hot weather?

According to Emma McConnachie, podiatrist from the College of Podiatry, the reason we get swollen ankles and feet is all to do with the blood supply.

She explains: ‘As our bodies heat up there is an increased blood supply to the skin and this causes fluid to move out of our vessels and into the surrounding tissue.

‘The foot and ankle are the lowest point in the body and so fluid build ups will often be more obvious there. This will usually resolve as your body acclimatises to the heat.’

When this fluid builds up, you can suddenly find your favourite summer shoes no longer fit, and shoes that don’t fit your newly swollen feet can cause other issues.

Emma says: ‘Make sure that your feet are not too big for your shoes in this weather.

‘In my own clinic we see an increase in ingrown toenails and corns between the toes in hot weather as feet have swollen inside shoes.’

How can you stop feet swelling?

Don’t fear, there are some things you can do to help.

Emma said: ‘Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

‘Help your body move the fluid on by doing simple ankle exercises such as rotating your foot as if you were drawing circles with your big toes. Do this 10 times a few times throughout the day to help your body pump the fluid away.’

When you get home, lie down and elevate your feet to help the fluid drain away. You need to try to elevate them above your heart.

Massaging them can also help to move the fluid out of the area and reduce the swelling or try an epson salt bath to relax you and reduce inflammation. Don’t make it too hot in the warm weather so it’s nice and refreshing.

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