Have you ever noticed that your feet are swollen abnormally or are tender to touch? If yes, then there is a probability of swollen ankles. Swollen ankles, or, as per medical lingo, edema, is a condition caused by fluids that accumulate in a place. With no passage for the fluids to pass, they are trapped in the space, causing swelling and discomfort in the area.
A sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, obesity, or an injury are just a few of the causes of ankle edema, which manifests as swollen ankles or feet. In this article, we are going to delve into the whys and hows of swollen ankles.
Common Causes And Signs Of Swollen Ankles
With so many factors playing a part in the cause of swollen ankles, let’s have a detailed look at it.
🔶 Pitting Edema
This is a condition where you can see a pit on your ankle when you press a finger too hard for a moment. It is like a dimple that originates for a few seconds and disappears from your skin. This is a common sign of fluid retention. When the indentation lasts for 2–5 minutes or longer after pressing, it can lead to severe conditions. These conditions are associated with heart failure, kidney disease, and venous insufficiency.
Expecting mothers often experience swollen ankles due to the extra weight they have been carrying around. It usually happens towards the end of the pregnancy or after completing 20 weeks. If you are experiencing other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, or abdominal pain, then a doctor’s visit is recommended.
🔶 Having A Sedimentary Lifestyle
If you sit, walk, stand, or travel for long hours on a daily basis, this can result in swelling in your ankles too. Wearing compression socks or smaller-size shoes can also result in swelling of the ankles. If the swelling turns to pain, then you need to see a doctor, as it can lead to severe diseases in the liver, heart, or kidney.
🔶 Sprain Or Foot Injury
When an individual has hurt his ankle during normal circumstances, it can cause swelling in his ankles. The internal bleeding caused by the injury leads to swelling and can be treated with a pack of ice. Allow the muscles to heal and check for their progress to understand if the pain still lingers after healing.
Individuals who undergo radiation therapy are most likely to experience this condition. Here, lymphatic fluids travel through lymph nodes to capture any unwanted substances. But when there is an issue with lymph vessels or nodes, the fluid is trapped. This can cause infection, deformity, or swelling.
🔶 Venous Insufficiency
This is a condition where the blood circulates in the opposite direction. So rather than heart to leg and feet, the blood travels upward and leaks back down in your lower leg. This causes the retention of fluids in the leg and results in swollen ankles. If this is not treated in due time, it can lead to skin ulcers, changes in skin, and infection.
🔶 Interaction With Medications
Sometimes, the cause of swollen ankles can be a side effect of certain medicines. These include steroids, estrogen, blood pressure medicines, diabetes medicines, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory medicines, or NSAIDs. In such a case, consult your doctor and take a break from the medications.
Obesity can also cause swollen ankles. Just like during pregnancy, when your legs cannot support the body weight, it can lead to swollen ankles and discomfort in walking. Try to eat healthy and exercise to manage your weight.
How To Treat Swollen Ankles?
Although swollen ankles can be a little painful, they can be bearable with some home remedies. Resting your ankles at an elevated height under the cushion can help reduce the buildup of fluids. Wearing compression stockings can help with the circulation of blood around your ankles and reduce swelling.
A reduced intake of foods containing salt can help alleviate the pain in your ankles. A cold compress or ice pack over the ankles can aid in swelling. Make sure to use a cloth over the ice packs to avoid direct contact with the skin. Swollen ankles are normally not a serious issue but can lead to one if not addressed at the right time.