Swollen feet and ankles are mostly normal and do not create concern, especially if you have been walking a lot or standing for prolonged times.
But feet and ankles swelling that persists or are accompanied by other symptoms imply a severe health enigma that needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Foot and ankle swelling is also termed peripheral edema, which refers to fluid buildup in lower body areas because of gravity.
The accumulation of fluid usually isn’t painful unless it’s due to injury.
The swelling can sometimes occur on just one side of the body or even both.
Symptoms of Swollen Feet And Ankles
Symptoms of the swollen ankles include:
Also, sometimes your entire foot or a portion of your foot may appear larger than usual. These symptoms may develop slowly and persist or worsen over time.
The duration and course of swollen feet and ankles vary widely, depending on the cause.
Swelling caused by an injury often has a sudden onset.
A person might experience swollen feet for several reasons, such as Liver disease, Kidney disease, Bone and tendon conditions, and sometimes even heart failure or arthritis.
Causes of Swollen Feet And Ankles
1. Being overweight
Too much body mass can decrease blood circulation, causing excess fluid to accumulate in the ankles and legs.
2. Standing or sitting for long hours
When your muscles stay inactive for a while, they can’t pump body fluids back up toward the heart, due to which water and blood retention cause puffiness and swelling.
3. Natural hormonal changes
Alternating levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause reduced blood circulation in the body, causing swelling. These changes in hormone levels may occur naturally during pregnancy and a woman’s menstrual cycle.
4. Hot Weather
During hot weather, veins in the feet expand to cool the body, causing feet to swell. This phenomenon causes a leak into the surrounding tissue, and fluids start accumulating in the ankles and feet.
5 . Blood Clot In The Leg
Blood clots develop when the blood fails to flow properly in the body, preventing it from moving back to the heart.
This process can cause the ankles and feet to swell.
In some conditions, the clots may drift and move up to the heart or lungs, causing swelling and discomfort.
6. Pregnancy complications
Random foot swelling during pregnancy is prevalent because women’s body is producing more body fluids. However, sudden or excessive swelling may be a sign of preeclampsia, a severe condition in which high blood pressure (hypertension) and protein in the urine develop after the 20th week of pregnancy.
7. Foot or ankle injury
A most common cause of ankle swelling is an injury to the foot or ankle itself. For example, an overstrained ankle sprain, broken Bone, tendon rupture, turf toe, insect bite, or skin burn could also cause the foot to swell.
Also known as lymphatic obstruction, the lymphatic system helps the body get rid of excess substances, such as bacteria and toxins. Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic fluid gathers in the tissues resulting in swelling in the arms and legs. A common cause of lymphedema is cancer surgery.
Infections can also cause swelling of the ankles. People with a diabetic disease are at a greater risk for foot infections. Further nerve damage can blunt the pain sensation, and foot problems can progress quickly.
10. Heart Disease
Swelling of ankles in the evening could be a sign of retaining salt and water because of right-sided heart failure. A damaged heart cannot pump blood to the heart efficiently, causing the legs and ankles to swell.
11. Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can also cause ankle swelling. However, it may not show any symptoms until it is too late and the kidneys are beginning to fail. When kidneys are not performing well, they might not flush out fluid that can build up in the body, causing swelling.
12. Liver Disease
A diseased Liver can cause reduced production of a protein known as albumin, which helps stop the blood leaking from blood vessels into the surrounding tissues. The shortage of this protein results in swelling of the legs and feet.
13. Medication Side Effect
If you experience swollen feet and ankles regularly and are taking medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicine could be the culprit. Medications that may cause edema as a possible side effect include:
- Diabetes medications
- Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone
- Steroids, including androgenic and anabolic steroids
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Treating Swollen Feet And Ankles At Home
You can try several remedies at home if your ankles are regularly swelling. The following can help relieve swelling when it occurs:
- Elevate your legs almost above your heart.
- Practice stretching and moving the legs.
- Reduce your salt intake to decrease the fluid accumulation in your ankles.
- Avoid wearing knee pads and wrap the foot or ankle with a compression bandage.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Apply ice packs for cold compresses to your feet.
- Maintain a daily diet plan and control your body weight.
- Make a habit of standing up or moving around at least once every hour, especially when you’re sitting a lot or standing still for more extended periods.
We are confident that our above-mentioned remedies will work for you, but if you think things are getting out of your hands, please don’t hesitate to reach us. Our qualified FOOT & ANKLE SURGEON is available at your service.