Swollen feet and ankles are a common condition and usually not a major cause of alarm especially if you walk a lot or stand for long. The only time you should worry is when the swelling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, an indication of an underlying problem. Here we, look at the reasons why your feet and ankles tend to swell and how you can overcome the problem.
What are Swollen Feet and Ankles?
Your body is made up of mostly water. When your feet and ankles swell, it means your body retains fluids. Water retention usually occurs within your circulatory system or cavities and tissues. Swelling happens when the body’s hydration level is out of balance, causing your body to hold on to water. Water retention can make you feel heavier than normal and less nimble.
Reasons for Feet and Ankles Swelling
Swelling in your ankles, legs, and feet is often the result of a fluid build-up, a condition known as edema. It’s usually caused by prolonged standing or sitting in one position for a long time, or eating foods with too much salt. Pregnancy, obesity, and old age also contribute to the problem. Ankle and foot swelling can also be an early sign of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where an inadequate amount of blood moves up the veins from the legs to the heart. An injury to your foot or ankle can also lead to severe swelling. The most common is a sprained ankle, which occurs when an injury or misstep causes the ligaments that hold the ankle in place to be stretched beyond their normal range.
The tissue under your skin, especially around your legs or arms puffs up, stretches, or becomes shiny.
When are Swollen Feet Indicative of a Problem?
Water retention that’s accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, and abnormal weight gain should prompt you to see your doctor. Redness, blisters, leg ulcerations, and surging pain are other indications something is wrong and you should seek urgent medical help. If you have sudden chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911.
Your doctor will determine what’s causing the symptoms you are experiencing. They may perform blood tests, an x-ray, urine analysis, and electrocardiogram tests to uncover the underlying issue. If the ankle and foot swelling is due to a serious medical condition like congestive heart failure, the doctor will prescribe diuretics. These drugs stimulate the kidneys and enable them to release retained fluids.
Have rheumatoid arthritis? Your doctor will create a management plan to manage the condition. Swelling due to physical injury may require surgery, a cast, or bone resetting in the affected area. If there’s excessive swelling, your doctor will prescribe painkillers or over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to help relieve the inflammation and pain.
Simple Ways to Get Rid of Swollen Feet and Ankles
You can manage your foot and ankle swelling at home with these simple tips:
- Put your legs on pillows to raise them above your heart while lying down.
- Exercise your legs
- Follow a low-salt diet, which may reduce fluid buildup and swelling.
- Wear support stockings (sold at most drugstores and medical supply stores).
- When traveling, take breaks often to stand up and move around
Swollen Feet and Ankles Treatment
There are many ways of treating swollen feet and ankles. Here are the common methods:
Manage your Underlying Medical Condition
Take your oral medications to manage the symptoms of your medical condition. If you have kidney disease or congestive heart failure, reduce the number of fluids you take in a day.
Do Light Exercise
While you can’t avoid injuries in your usual physical activities, warming up first does help. You walk can take short walks or go for a light job before switching to physically demanding tasks. Remember to supportive shoes. The right footwear can correct any issues with gait and prevent ankle injuries. Choose shoes that suit your activity or meet specific needs. If you run or jog, get the correct shoe fitting from a professional.
Wear Compression Socks
Designed to gently squeeze your legs, compression socks promote better blood circulation in your legs. They can help prevent and reduce ankle swelling due to any of these conditions.
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Varicose veins
- Venous insufficiency
Consult your doctor before using compression socks to manage your swelling. Be sure to wear them during the day and remove them before you sleep.
Watch Your Diet
Take a low sodium diet as it prevents fluids from building up in your organs. Avoid fast foods and frozen meals including canned soups. They contain excess sodium, which is bad for your health. Be sure to read the food label before you pick items from the supermarket shelf.
Raise Your Legs
After standing or walking for long, try to prop your feet up or soak them in water when you get back home to stop swelling.
Consult the Professional Team at Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute
If you’ve been battling swollen feet and ankles for years, and can’t find lasting relief, it may be time to see a podiatrist at Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute. We have qualified and experienced foot doctors in Eagle Mountain that can help you with your situation, We will diagnose the problem then recommend a solution that works for you to eliminate so you can live a pain-free life. Call 801-756-4200 to book an appointment with our foot specialists today.