Swollen ankles and swollen feet are a common phenomenon, especially if you have been standing or walking for a long time. If you notice other symptoms besides the swelling, it could indicate a serious underlying health problem that may need a foot and ankle institute consultation. There are a wide variety of conditions characterized by swollen feet and swollen ankles.
Here are some of them:
Edema refers to the swelling that occurs when the capillaries in your body leak fluids. The fluid surrounds the tissues, which can lead to swelling. Common causes include eating too much salty food, pregnancy, and sitting in one position for too long.
It could be a side effect of some medications, such as steroid drugs and some diabetes medication. Several other diseases and conditions, such as congestive heart failure and cirrhosis, may cause edema.
Foot or Ankle Injury
If your foot or ankle sustains an injury, you might notice some swelling. The most common type of injury is a sprained ankle, which happens when the ligaments in the ankle stretch beyond their threshold. You can attempt a few home remedies to ease a sprained ankle. These include elevating the foot on a stool, using ice packs, and resting.
Swelling of the ankles and feet could be an early sign of venous insufficiency. This is a condition in which blood insufficiently moves up the veins in the feet up to the heart. Ideally, blood flows upwards with one-way valves. When these veins are damaged or weak, the blood gets back down the vessels. You might experience skin changes around the area or contract an infection in such a scenario.
Some conditions increase the chances of getting a foot infection. If you have diabetic neuropathy, you are at greater risk. Nerve damage can make you less sensitive to pain, so it can help to inspect your feet and ankles for blisters and sores regularly. The problem can progress quickly without you noticing if you don’t inspect your limbs.
Pericarditis refers to swelling or irritation of the pericardium, the thin tissue surrounding the heart. The most dominant sign of pericarditis is chest pain, which occurs when the irritated tissues rub against each other. Besides chest pains, pericarditis can also lead to leg swelling.
It can be difficult to point out the cause of pericarditis. Some of the known reasons include chronic health conditions like kidney failure, inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, and infections such as COVID-19.
Pregnancy leads to many changes in the body, among them is swelling in your feet and ankles. The swelling will be more pronounced at the end of the day and later into your pregnancy. If the swelling progresses gradually, you don’t have to worry about yourself or the baby. If it increases suddenly, it could signify pre-eclampsia.
Home Care Tips to Reduce Swelling
There are a few things you can try from the comfort of your home to reduce swelling. You can try raising your feet above your heart by lying down and placing them on pillows. You might also consider following a low-salt diet to reduce fluid buildup. If you are traveling, take breaks in between and move around. You can also get support stockings from a local drugstore. If you suspect that some medication you are on could cause the swelling, consult your physician before you stop taking medicine.
When to Visit a Foot and Ankle Institute
In most cases, swollen feet and ankles are not an emergency. Although you don’t need to call 911, it would be best to visit a foot and ankle institute, especially if your swollen foot is red or feels warm to the touch, you have a fever, you are pregnant and notice an abrupt increase in swelling, or self-care measures don’t help.