November 23, 2022

How To Prevent Feet Swelling While Sitting at Desk

People who work at an office all encounter a similar issue if they sit at a desk for the majority of the day -- 8 hours is a long time to be sitting, in general, and prolonged sitting in a still position can lead to swollen feet.

While foot swelling on its own is not considered dangerous, it can be pretty uncomfortable, and the last thing you want to do is worry about your feet while trying to be productive in your workplace.

In some cases, significant swelling of the feet and legs can signal a larger problem with blood flow, such as blood clots, poor circulation, and even kidney disease and heart failure.

Our CBD foot cream and relief roll can help with the discomfort while you take these steps to prevent foot swelling while sitting, remedy swollen feet, and improve circulation throughout your workday.

Today, we explain everything you need to know about preventing swollen feet, and improving comfort as you work.

What causes foot swelling?

Swollen feet are caused by fluid retention in your lower limbs as gravity draws fluid down while you're sitting at a desk. The position of sitting in an office chair tends to cause poor circulation and reduced blood flow through your legs, and the result is swollen feet. The medical term for this kind of swelling is peripheral edema, a term that also includes the hands.

People are more likely to experience swollen feet if they're stationary for long periods, forget to drink plenty of water or have underlying health issues. It can be uncomfortable but usually resolves on its own once you get moving again. However, the time it takes to return to normal varies, and swelling in the legs can make walking uncomfortable.

While leg swelling from sitting is common, it can also be the result of a poor diet and not exercising regularly.

How Do I Prevent Swollen Feet?

The best intervention is always prevention, and foot swelling is no different. Swollen legs have known causes, and there are some modifications you can make to your habits, lifestyle, and posture to prevent feet swelling before it even happens.

Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water

Fluid retention is exacerbated by dehydration and excess sodium in the body, leading to pooling in the lower extremities when you sit for prolonged periods.

It may sound counterintuitive, but sipping water throughout the day can help with flushing sodium out of the body and prevent feet swelling. Remember to drink plenty, and make sure your water bottle is well-filled if you plan on sitting at your desk for long hours at a time.

Maintain a healthy diet that minimizes sodium

A diet highly centered around healthy foods is well-known to promote better heart health, reduce the likelihood of certain diet-related health problems, and keep your circulation in top shape.

Sodium intake, beyond the effect on your blood pressure, can promote fluid retention in your body parts, and can lead to worsening of swollen feet and legs during sitting. Any food high in sodium can make swelling worse if you're especially prone to it, or are dehydrated.

Consider reducing your body weight through diet and exercise

Obesity is a contributing factor to developing edema, as increased pressure on the veins can also interfere with proper blood circulation throughout the lower body. If you are obese, your physician may advise you to lose weight to reduce swelling, and recommend that you exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight.

Perform foot and ankle exercises daily

There are many easy exercises you can do even while sitting that address the discomfort brought on by foot swelling, and reduce the likelihood of more swelling. The best part about leg extensions, knee lifts, foot pumps, foot pedals and ankle circles is that they can keep the swelling at bay if you do them often enough during the day.

Foot exercises are easy to perform at a desk; for example, gently rotating your ankles clockwise, then counterclockwise for about a minute can get the blood flowing and reduce feet swelling while sitting. Do one foot, then the other.

Get up and move

If sitting at your office chair for too long increases the chances of your feet swelling, then naturally, getting up periodically is a great way to prevent swelling. Set a timer at your desk to remind yourself to get up, stretch, and walk around at least every hour. Extended periods of immobility while sitting at a desk will make swelling more likely.

Consider compression socks

Compression stockings and compression socks are key pieces of comfortable footwear if you suffer from periodic swelling in your feet and legs. They offer gentle compression to your legs to improve blood flow, and promote circulation through the legs. They are often recommended for people who have to sit for unnaturally long periods like interstate truck drivers and IT staff, for example.

Wear comfortable shoes

You may want to leave the dress shoes and high heels in the closet if you're planning on spending the workday at your desk for a long time. Shoes that make walking uncomfortable to your feet won't be doing you any favors if they swell up, increasing pain and immobility.

Shoes that are comfortable and have some "breathing room" are crucial pieces of footwear to have on hand, even if you only wear them at your desk. You may also opt for a pair of shoes that are easy to slip off to give you the opportunity to gently massage your feet if you feel swelling coming on.

Final Thoughts

We all want to do our best in our careers, and for many of us, that means cranking out the long hours at our desks, sitting and not being mindful of the signals our bodies are sending. But at the end of the day, our legs are with us for life: the office chair we leave at the office.

Keeping your feet healthy at the office is easier than ever when we come prepared with plenty of water, comfortable footwear, and being careful to not sit still for too long.