Swollen ankles and feet, also known as edema, is a condition in which excess fluid builds up in the tissues. It is most common in the lower extremities, but can also occur in the hands, face, and abdomen.
Causes of swollen ankles and feet
There are many causes of swollen ankles and feet, including:
- Pregnancy: Swelling is a common symptom of pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. This is due to the increased blood volume and fluid retention that occurs during pregnancy.
- Menstruation: Some women experience swelling in their ankles and feet during menstruation. This is due to hormonal changes that cause the body to retain more fluid.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antidepressants, can cause swelling as a side effect.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and liver disease, can also cause swelling.
- Injuries: Injuries to the ankles or feet can also cause swelling.
- Prolonged sitting or standing: Sitting or standing for long periods of time can also cause swelling in the ankles and feet.
- Obesity: Obesity can increase the risk of swelling in the ankles and feet.
Symptoms of swollen ankles and feet
The main symptom of swollen ankles and feet is swelling. The skin may also be stretched, shiny, and red. Pressing on the swollen area may leave an indentation in the skin.
Treatment for swollen ankles and feet
The treatment for swollen ankles and feet depends on the underlying cause. If the swelling is caused by a medical condition, such as heart failure or kidney disease, the underlying condition will need to be treated.
In general, there are a number of things you can do to reduce swelling in your ankles and feet, including:
- Elevate your feet: Elevating your feet above the level of your heart can help to reduce swelling.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and shoes: Avoid wearing tight clothing or shoes, as this can restrict circulation and worsen swelling.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
- Reduce your salt intake: Eating too much salt can cause your body to retain more fluid, which can worsen swelling.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated can help to reduce swelling.
If you have swollen ankles and feet, it is important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.