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Causes of Swollen Feet
Swelling of the ankle and feet is a relatively frequent symptom in most people. The causes of swollen feet and ankles are numerous; examples of most of the major causes include:
Swelling due to standing or walking (usually over some period that varies from person to person)
Excess body weight can decrease blood circulation, causing fluid to build up in the feet, legs, and ankles.
The normal swelling that most pregnant women experience during pregnancy
Many medications have the side effects of fluid retention that manifests as swelling.
Any trauma to the foot or ankle (usually sprains or fractures) can result in swelling.
Any infection, either localized (abscess) or diffuse (cellulitis)
Swelling due to lymph vessel or lymph node blockage of lymph fluid
Blockage of blood vessels (usually venous) that cause fluid to leak out of vessels into tissue
Venous insufficiency occurs when the veins are unable to pump blood adequately, causing blood to pool in the legs.
Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. The increase in blood pressure can result in poor circulation and swelling in the face, hands, and legs.
Cirrhosis refers to severe scarring of the liver, which is often caused by alcohol abuse or infection (hepatitis B or C).
Pericarditis is long-term inflammation of the pericardium, which is the sac-like membrane around the heart.
How are Swollen Feet Diagnosed And Treated?
Clinical observation and examination are how swollen feet and ankles are diagnosed. To help diagnose the cause of the swelling, the doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests:
Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) or blood chemistry
Chest x-ray or extremity x-ray
Doppler ultrasound examination of the leg veins
If the swelling is related to a lifestyle habit or minor injury, the doctor will likely recommend home treatments.
If the swelling is a result of an underlying health condition, the doctor will treat that specific condition.
Treatment for swollen feet and ankles depends on the underlying cause(s). In some people, simply raising the feet above the level of the heart or simply getting up regularly throughout the day will reduce or eliminate swelling. Other treatments for swelling may include antibiotics for infections, a splint or bandage for a sprain, taking appropriate medications for congestive heart failure or gout.
When To Seek Medical Attention?
Some cases of swollen feet and ankles require urgent attention. Get immediate medical attention if a person has swollen feet and ankles accompanied by the following symptoms:
Unexplained painful swelling of the legs
Swelling accompanied by fever.
New foot swelling during pregnancy.
Single limb swelling
Pain and swelling that does not get better
warmth, redness, or swelling in the affected area
The affected skin is stretched or broken
Ulcers or blisters on the legs
Chest pain, pressure, or tightness
Home Remedies To Cure Swollen Feet
Painless swelling usually resolves on its own, some home remedies can reduce swelling more quickly and increase comfort. The remedies are as follows:
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day
wear compression stockings
Soak in a cold Epsom salt bath for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Elevate feet, on cushions, pillows, while sleeping.
Eating foods rich in magnesium can help.
Reducing sodium intake can help decrease swelling in the feet.