Pedal edema is further characterized into two types:
- Bilateral pedal edema (occurring in both feet)
- Unilateral pedal edema (occuring in one foot, either right or left)
Acute bilateral pedal edema causes swelling of the feet due to medication or bilateral DVT (Deep vein thrombosis). Bilateral Chronic pedal edema in older people may be due to venous insufficiency. It could also be due to heart failure or in some rare cases, systemic reasons like renal or liver disease. Some women also experience short term pedal edema in pregnancy, which normally resolves after birth.
Unilateral pedal edema causes swelling in only one foot or leg. This could also be due to DVT or due to cellulitis, ruptured popliteal cyst, gastrocnemius musculotendinous rupture or any other trauma.
Both bilateral and unilateral pedal edema are further classified as pitting and non pitting pedal edema. Pitting pedal edema causes a dimple or a “pit” if pressed by a finger for a few seconds. Non pitting pedal edema causes swelling but does not dimple or cause any such pits up on external force.
Some of the most probable health abnormalities causing bilateral pedal edema are as follows:
– Pulmonary Hypertension
– Venous Insufficiency
– Gastrointestinal Disorders
– Liver Disease
– Deep Vein Thrombosis
– Certain types of Cancer
– Heart failure
Some of the unilateral pedal edema causes are as follows:
– Venous insufficiency
– Deep vein thrombosis
– Pelvic tumor
– Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
– Ruptured Baker’s cyst
What are the Pedal Edema causes and treatment in Elderly Adults?
Bilateral pedal edema generally occurs in older adults and it suggests the presence of an underlying systemic disease that must be addressed. It is caused either by raised capillary filtration coupled with the retention of protein-poor fluid in the interstitial spaces or by obstructing the ‘lymphatic outflow’ from the legs. The presence of pedal edema in the older adults results in a decrease in mobility, disturbance in gait, impairment of sensation in the foot and the presence of cutaneous ulcers. Kindly seek medical assistance for treatment in these cases.
Causes of Pedal Edema in young adults:
While it is common in older people, the condition does occur in young adults as well. Pedal edema in pregnancy is quite common. This happens due to an increase in blood flow and pressure on your uterus, pelvic veins and your vena cava (large vein in the right side of the heart from where blood returned from the lower limbs). Furthermore, body fluids tend to increase in order to nurture the baby and the mother thus resulting in pedal edema in pregnancy.
Additional causes of pedal edema in young adults can be inactivity, being overweight, tight clothing or sitting or standing for too long.
Consult top general physicians online to evaluate your risk factors for developing pedal edema