Why Are Your Ankles Swollen?
Swelling in the leg results from one of two things –
• Oedema, accumulation of fluid
• Inflammation is the body’s response to infection or injury.
When extra fluid is stuck in your body’s tissues, it’s called oedema. For example, your feet, ankles, and legs develop oedema and puffiness in the tissue that lies directly beneath your skin.
Your hands and arms may be impacted as well. Edema can also cause strained or glossy skin and trouble walking. Your immune system’s reaction to an injury, an infection, or a disease is inflammation. It may be chronic or acute (prolonged) (long-term).
What Causes a Swollen Ankle?
There are many different reasons why your ankles can develop swelling. It typically happens due to an injury or oedema. Here are some of the most common causes of ankle swelling –
Inflammation of the joints, such as arthritis, can result in foot or ankle swelling. A common type of arthritis that can occasionally produce swelling is osteoarthritis. Typically, just one joint is affected. Another type of arthritis, known as gout, often results in a highly painful, swollen, red joint. The big toe is the most frequently affected joint, but gout can also damage the ankle or other foot joints. In addition, some autoimmune illnesses affect both feet or ankles, resulting in ankle swelling and arthritis.
Swelling in the lower legs is frequently a symptom of leg vein issues like spider veins and venous insufficiency. This is because deoxygenated blood, or blood without oxygen, is transported back to the heart through veins. As we age, they may suffer damage that causes ankle swelling. In addition, a blood clot can make ankle swelling more severe and indicate a serious underlying medical condition.
Skin infections often lead to ankle swelling in one leg. Pain and redness are typically present in the swollen area. Foot infections can also develop due to trauma, such as nail injuries or puncture wounds, and wounds brought on by diabetes.
Swollen feet and ankles are among the many changes the body experiences during pregnancy, and they are perhaps the most frequent. This is mainly caused by all of the additional blood and fluid that a woman generates when pregnant, which softens the body and aids in it expanding as the baby grows. In addition to hormonal changes, pregnant women may also experience increased strain on their veins and swollen ankles.
What Does a Swollen Ankle Feel Like?
The diagnosis for swelling is simple. If your ankle is swollen, it can cause the lower part of the leg to look more prominent than usual. Walking could be challenging due to the swelling. The skin on your leg may feel tight and stretched out, which could hurt. Typically, ankle swelling is temporary and not dangerous. However, keeping an eye on your pain and swelling is essential as it can signify something much more severe. You can reduce swelling and resume your everyday activities by treating them correctly. However, an extended period of swelling can indicate a medical emergency.
What Is the Ankle Swelling Treatment Options?
Treatment to reduce swelling depends on the underlying issue. Many people find that all it takes to reduce swelling is to elevate their feet above their hearts or get up frequently during the day. A splint or bandage for a sprain, medicines for infections, congestive heart failure (CHF), or gout drugs can be used to reduce swelling. While swelling of the foot or ankle as a standalone condition is unusual, there are several underlying reasons for which localized swelling of the foot or ankle is a primary, even the main symptom. Examples include foot and ankle fractures, liver, renal, and heart failure exacerbations, and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
When To Consult a doctor?
It is essential to see a doctor if you observe any of the following signs or symptoms in addition to swelling:
- If the enlarged regions are heated.
- If you are known to have liver, renal, or cardiac issues.
- If you have diabetes
- if you see significant oedema while pregnant.
- If you have a fever.
- If using home cures for swelling doesn’t help.
- If you have shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation, and chest discomfort
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Ankles
Ankle swelling might indicate a build-up of fluid in the tissues. It can mean a cardiac condition other than heart disease or a circulation issue.
Other disorders, including varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and lymphedema, can cause leg swelling. A sedentary lifestyle and an obese physique can also bring on leg swelling. Standing for an extended period can also make the legs swell in elderly persons. Sometimes a sudden swell might be a sign of renal failure.
Swollen ankles are a symptom of underlying conditions such as cardiac conditions. Swelling in some circumstances may also be an indication of renal issues.
In cardiovascular disorders, the heart's dysfunction causes ankle swelling. Blood flow will be decreased, and less blood will enter the veins in the leg. It may cause fluid to accumulate in the tissues of the leg and cause ankle swelling.
Dehydration results from the body not having enough water. The blood vessels will contract as a result of dehydration. Fluid will then enter the extracellular gaps between the cells as a result of this. Fluid retention in the lower leg will result from the forced fluid exchange between the cells, causing ankle swelling.
In the event of physical inactivity, water can accumulate in the legs for an extended time. This is because the tissue tends to hang on to the water content if we remain still for a long time.
Ankle swelling will be the effect of this. In the affected location, the pain will be there most of the time. Water retention in the legs is typically observed after a long flight or car journey. It's essential to make the right lifestyle changes to reduce swelling.