Pedal edema can occur as a result of wearing socks or shoes too tightly around the ankles. This type of pedal edema generally goes away once the pressure is removed from the food. This type of pedal edema can harm the overall blood circulation in the body and could cause headaches. Excessive consumption of sodium (table salt) will also cause the feet and ankles to swell. The average American eats over 3,500mg of salt a day when the medical community recommends a daily allotment of 1,600mg of salt per day. The American salt problem does not stem from using the salt shaker more than needed. In fact, salt is hidden in many packaged and canned foods as salt makes food tasty and it also helps to preserve the food itself. Excess salt consumption causes the cells to retain water, which results in enlarged cells by increased water volume.
Pedal edema is a sign of cardiovascular disease when the swelling of the foot is located on one foot. Pedal edema is also a sign of lung diseases. The diseases pedal edema with which is associated is consistent with those of peripheral edema. Liver diseases can also cause the feet to swell. Persons that suffer from alcohol dependence have a tendency of having swollen faces and pedal edema because the alcohol cannot be completely handled by the liver. Therefore, the body sends the alcohol to the feet and extremities to prevent the poison from hurting other organs.
Simple trauma to the feet and ankles can also cause pedal edema. Walking for a long period of time on a hot day can cause the feet to swell. Pedal edema that is associated with walking on a hot summer’s day is a sign of dehydration. When dehydrated and the feet are swollen, do not drink a sports drink. Drink water, instead, because it does not contain the sugars and salts that are not needed when the feet or ankles are swollen.
Pedal edema is a sign of malnutrition, malasorption, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Varicose veins may also cause pedal edema. Pitting pedal edema is a type of pedal edema that creates a concave dip in the skin instead of outward protrusion of the skin. Extreme pitting pedal edema is a one of the signs of latent leprosy.