Swollen feet are common
after you have been sitting or standing for long periods of time or during hot
or humid weather. Sitting or lying down and elevating your legs will often
relieve this type of swelling. Conditions that put increased pressure on the
belly and pelvis, such as
obesity and pregnancy, also can cause swelling in the
feet and ankles and
- Varicose veins can affect both men and women and
may only cause a problem in one leg. For more information, see the topic
- The swelling in the feet
and ankles that occurs during pregnancy usually gets worse toward the end of
the pregnancy and goes away after delivery. For more information, see the topic
medicines can cause problems in the legs. For example,
birth control pills and other hormones can increase your risk of blood clots,
while water pills (diuretics), heart medicines, and cholesterol-lowering
medicines (statins) can cause muscle cramps.
Some leg problems are
only present at night:
- Restless legs syndrome causes an
intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. This can interrupt sleep
make you overly tired during the day. You may have a "pins-and-needles,"
prickling, creeping, crawling, tingling, and sometimes painful feeling in your
legs. Moving your legs can provide short-term relief. For more information, see the topic Restless Legs Syndrome.
- Nighttime leg
cramps are a sudden tightening (contraction) of the leg muscles in the calf,
thigh, or foot. They often occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up.
They can be painful and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Walking
or stretching your leg can sometimes help relieve nighttime leg cramps.
Most minor leg problems will heal on their own, and home
treatment may be all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing.
But serious leg problems also may occur and require prompt evaluation by a
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.