At the end of a long day on your feet, it is normal to experience foot and ankle swelling. It is also normal for this swelling to increase within reason as you age. But, excessive foot and ankle swelling can cause pain and discomfort. It is not normal for swelling to occur on one side, cause pain, or to increase rapidly. In many cases, excessive swelling is something that requires medical attention. Some common reasons for swelling are found below. It is important to see your podiatrist if you have pain, notice redness, have a rapid increase, or persistent swelling.
- Trauma. Many of the common foot and ankle injuries cause swelling. Traumatic swelling is noticed after an injury and generally reduces over the course of a few days.
- Arthritis. Arthritis,or joint inflammation, can cause localized swelling in the foot or ankle. This swelling will stay in and around the arthritic joint. Pain and swelling are typically greatest at the end of the day.
- Infection. Infection is a common cause of swelling and is often accompanied by pain and redness. If you notice any part of your body is hot, swollen, and red it is time to see a doctor for evaluation.
- Vein Problems. Problems with leg veins are a common cause of foot and ankle swelling. Common signs of poor veins include swelling to one side, varicose or spider veins, and a brown discoloration of skin. All of these conditions warrant a trip to your podiatrist. It is especially important to see your podiatrist if you have pain and swelling in your calf as this may be a deep vein thrombosis.
- Medical Conditions. Heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease,diabetes, and chronic sleep apnea are all causes of foot and leg swelling.
- Medications. Some prescription medications have side effects of swelling. Birth control pills, testosterone drugs, corticosteroids, certain blood pressure medications, and certain diabetic pills are such drugs.
- Pregnancy. Swelling in the legs is a common event in pregnancy. This is due to a combination of hormones, increased volume of fluid, and the pressure from the growing uterus. Swelling lasting for a few days after giving birth is common. If you experience a sudden onset of swelling, it is a good idea to see your doctor.