What Causes Foot and Ankle Swelling

 

Swelling in the foot and ankle is a very common complaint, especially in the elderly. This symptom has a variety of causes. To determine its cause, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates look at the degree of swelling, location, onset, and whether it is occurring in one limb or both. Many times the cause of swelling is something that needs medical attention. This is especially true if the swelling lasts longer than a few days or has sudden onset. Some of the most common causes of foot and ankle swelling include:

  • Vein Problems: Veins return used blood from the extremities back to the heart. Often, during the aging process they become damaged and are unable to return blood as efficiently as before. This is known as venous insufficiency and the most common signs are one limb that periodically swells, varicose or spider veins, and a brown skin discoloration that develops over time.
  • Trauma: The most common foot and ankle injuries that cause swelling include ankle sprains, tendon tears, and broken bones. Chronic stress or overuse can also cause swelling.
  • Infection: Infection commonly causes swelling and is usually accompanied by pain and redness. Swelling is even seen with infected ingrown toenails, infections between toes, and severe forms of athlete’s foot. Other ways infection can occur is through puncture wounds, trauma, and diabetic wounds.
  • Pregnancy: Swelling in both feet and ankles is a common occurrence. The swelling is typically caused by a combination of pregnancy hormones, increased volume of fluid in the body, and pressure on the veins from the growing uterus. Swelling in the legs that may last for a few days can occur after giving birth as well.
  • Medical Conditions: Medical conditions elsewhere in the body can cause swelling in both feet and ankles. These conditions include heart disease, liver disease, chronic sleep apnea, kidney disease, and complications of diabetes.
  • Medications: Some prescription medications can cause swelling in both feet and ankles. Birth control pills, estrogen replacement drugs, testosterone drugs, corticosteroids, certain blood pressure medicines, and some diabetic drugs have all been shown to cause swelling.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their feet, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates are available to help. The doctors have received extensive training in all aspects of the foot and can help you return to normal activity. To determine the best course of treatment contact our office at 843-449-FOOT (3668) or visit our website at www.coastalpodiatry.com.

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