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Monday 01 November 2021

Why do you have only one swollen foot ?

Why do you have only one swollen foot ?


In most cases, bilateral foot swelling is benign. Generally, simple solutions are enough to put an end to the situation (diet rebalancing, sports, massage, etc.). However, when the swelling is unilateral, a doctor should be contacted quickly. This could be a sign of phlebitis, an infection or an allergy. In the long term, without medical attention, serious complications can arise.


Two swollen feet: the main reasons

Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs on both sides is not a rare problem. In fact, there are many causes of swelling of the lower limbs. Swollen feet are often a symptom of venous insufficiency or water retention. More specific phenomena, such as pregnancy, premenstrual disorders or high temperatures can also lead to this situation (read What are the causes of swollen feet?).


In this case, several solutions exist. The first recommendation is to take care of your lifestyle. Practice a regular physical activity in order to stimulate blood circulation and avoid a diet rich in salt. Finally, if swollen feet are accompanied by a feeling of heavy legs, massage yourself with essential oils.


However, if the situation persists, make an appointment with a specialist. Indeed, this manifestation could be a sign of a more important pathology.





One swollen foot: the main reasons


Also called venous thrombosis, phlebitis is the formation of a blood clot in a deep or superficial vein. Venous insufficiency or hypercoagulability of the blood are the main risk factors.


The blood clot usually forms in the calf. The calf becomes hard and painful. Swelling of the lower limbs appears.


Lymphatic edema

Lymphatic edema is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the leg (or arm). This manifestation is not painful. Thus, a feeling of discomfort or difficulty in walking are the main symptoms.


Lymphedema can be caused by kidney dysfunction, heart failure or venous insufficiency. Certain medications can also cause this health problem. In this case, only one of your feet is swollen.


Lymphatic edema can be prevented through regular exercise. Sport stimulates blood circulation and ensures the proper functioning of the lymphatic system throughout the body.



Erysipelas is a bacterial infection (streptococcus) in the soft tissue of the leg and foot. The swelling is painful and causes heat, redness and itching. Fever may also occur. Usually only one leg is infected, which explains the unilateral swelling of the foot.


Erysipelas is often caused by a wound, which allows the bacteria to enter your body.



An allergy can explain the unilateral swelling. This can be the result of an insect bite, absorption or contact with an allergenic product.


One-sided swelling: consult without delay

Whatever the reason, a foot that is swollen on only one side should lead you to consult your doctor without delay. Indeed, the complications related to the above-mentioned pathologies are real.


Erysipelas can develop into phlebitis or septicemia. As for phlebitis, it is possible that the blood clot present in the calf goes up towards the lungs. The patient then risks a pulmonary embolism. In this case, an anticoagulant treatment must be rapidly administered.


Finally, if the asymmetric swelling is due to an allergy, a prescription for an antihistamine or corticosteroids may be established.


Read also: Swollen foot: what to do?



Author : Philippe Vesin - Pedorthist