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swollen ankles and feet from job

by Holly

Hi, I recently started working after being on unemployment for a year. My new job is in a warehouse and it requires me to walk on concrete floors for up to 8.5 hr/day. For the first two weeks, I wore a pair of old tennis shoes and my feet hurt so bad that I could barely walk by the end of the day. My ankles became very swollen as well. I finally was able to buy a pair of very good running shoes and my feet no longer hurt. However, my ankles and feet are still very swollen. When I get out of bed in the morning the first few steps are so painful. After a couple of hours at work, the pain recedes a little, but by the end of my shift my ankles are hurting again. My mother gave me a water pill, and after a few hours the swelling was gone and for the first time in a month (since I started this job) my ankles do not hurt. I know the job has something to do with the swelling, but why? And what can I do about it? My mom wants me to get my heart checked out. I don't cough at all. I get a little short of breath, but I think it's because I am overweight. I had borderline-high blood pressure over the last year, but I quit smoking cigarettes and my blood pressure has been back to normal (average of 105/70) for the last couple of months. I am a 42 year old female. Always been healthy but gained A LOT of weight with pregnancy 7 yrs ago and have never lost it. Why the sudden fluid retention in my ankles and feet? I thought I'd lose weight from the warehouse job- my arms and thighs are getting much toner from the physical activity. But it hurts to walk and my ankles are so puffy. Any thoughts? Thanks...



RESPONSE

Hi,

Because the swelling in the feet and ankles began once you started working this new warehouse job you would have to assume there is a connection.
Swelling could be present if your feet and legs were still hurting, but you mention there is no more pain, so I doubt there is a cause and effect as far as that goes.
I do not know where you live but it is summer in North America so my first question is whether or not it is hot in the warehouse. Increased heat with a lot of walking, particularly in someone who is overweight could certainly lead to swelling in the feet and legs.
This type of swelling would be due primarily to poor venous return, meaning between the heat and humidity and the fact that you are overweight, your veins that bring blood back up to the heart, are not functioning properly.
If this is indeed the case, you will probably notice that your feet and ankles are not swollen first thing in the morning, only to worsen the more you are on your feet as the day progresses.
Diuretics, or water pills will certainly help but I urge you to take them under the care of your doctor as taking them improperly could lead to heart and kidney problems, so you would only be making your situation worse.
The scenario that I presented seems the most obvious cause, but it is certainly not the only potential cause of your swelling.
The best advice I could give you would be to see your doctor for a thorough evaluation and a proper diagnosis.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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