Stop Taking Ibuprofen If Your Feet Look Like This

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can be a lifesaver when it comes to quelling a fever, easing joint pain, or giving the body a reprieve from debilitating period cramps. Confirming its popularity, GoodRx Health compiled drug review data from more than 4,000 people regarding how satisfied they were with different over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relief medications. Ibuprofen came out on top with 88% of reviewers ranking the NSAID as well worth the purchase.

Although considered safe for OTC use, ibuprofen can bring about adverse side effects in some users, in which case you will want to cease use of the medication. Some side effects might feel more obvious, such as abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, or diarrhea (per Alcohol and Drug Foundation). Others you might not initially think would be related to taking ibuprofen, but our feet, for example, can give us a clue as to whether we may be experiencing a negative reaction to the medication. In some cases, ibuprofen can cause problematic swelling.

Stop taking ibuprofen if your feet look swollen

More often seen in older adults, fluid retention is one possible side effect associated with the use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (per Usually affecting the ankles, legs, and feet, this can lead to edema, in which the body's tissues continue to hold water and the area begins to swell. In cases of ibuprofen-induced edema, one's feet may take on a puffy appearance not long after taking the medication. Such water retention may impact the functioning of other medications and can be of particular concern for patients with heart failure or hypertension.

In a 2014 case report published in the Scholars Journal of Medical Case Reports, researchers outlined how a woman in her late 60s was diagnosed with pedal edema in relation to NSAID use. The patient did have a history of alternate health conditions and had also been taking additional medications. Both of the woman's legs were swollen, and the prescription NSAID diclofenac was thought to be the cause. Although ibuprofen, specifically, was not involved in this case, it does fall into the NSAID medication category, and patients are therefore encouraged to speak to their healthcare provider before taking ibuprofen if diagnosed with any underlying health conditions.

How to reduce your risk for ibuprofen's adverse effects

Once you discontinue use of ibuprofen, the swelling in your feet should subside (per GoodRx Health). As previously mentioned, however, people with heart failure should avoid NSAIDs at all costs unless otherwise instructed by their doctor. This is because NSAIDs can exacerbate the condition, resulting in leg or ankle swelling if heart failure becomes increasingly severe. In this event, promptly contact your physician.

To reduce the risk of adverse side effects, consumers will want to strictly adhere to all instructions on the drug label. If you're using oral forms of ibuprofen for OTC pain relief, take only between 200 and 400 milligrams (mg) every four to six hours, and do not take more than 1,200 mg in a 24-hour period (per Unless otherwise prescribed by your healthcare provider, stick to short-term use of ibuprofen. Aim to take the smallest dose over the shortest amount of time that still effectively treats any aches or pains.