Swollen feet and ankles could be caused by many things: standing for long periods of time, being overweight, wearing tight shoes or socks that don’t fit properly, pregnancy, or varicose veins. The list goes on. Even if you’re not experiencing any other symptoms with your swollen feet or ankle pain, it’s important to tell your doctor about them so they can do blood work and an examination to find out what the problem may be, especially if this isn’t a regular occurrence. To help you get a better understanding of the different issues that may be causing this, this article will take a look at what swollen ankles and feet could mean for your health.
If you’re dehydrated, one of the first places your body will seek to keep water is in your tissues. This is because storing moisture is easier for your body than manufacturing more. If you are dehydrated, you may experience swelling in your feet and ankles. Dehydration can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on how severe the condition is. If you believe you might be dehydrated, drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids such as water or juice. Salty foods, high in salt, sodium, or potassium, can also help to relieve fluid accumulation due to dehydration.
One potential health issue that swollen feet and ankles could be a sign of is kidney disease. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, they can’t get rid of the excess fluid in the body, which causes swelling, primarily in the lower extremities. This is because the veins in the lower body have to work harder to pump blood up to the heart, and the extra fluid makes it difficult for them to do so. Along with swollen feet and ankles, common symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, itchy skin, and muscle cramps.
Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Swollen feet and ankles are common in people with heart failure, as well as other symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. As scary as heart failure sounds, early diagnosis and treatment can often prolong life.
Liver disease can be another ailment that can cause swollen feet and ankles. When the liver isn’t functioning properly, it can’t get rid of the toxins in the body, which causes fluid to build up. This extra fluid leads to swelling, most commonly in the abdomen, but it can also cause swelling in the feet and ankles. Along with swollen feet and ankles, common symptoms of liver disease include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, and pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.
Blood clots can also cause swollen feet and ankles. A blood clot in the leg, called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), can cause swelling, pain, and redness in the leg. If a blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism (PE). This can be a life-threatening condition, so if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a blood clot, such as swelling in the feet and ankles, pain in the leg, chest pain, shortness of breath, or rapid heartbeat, go to the emergency room immediately.
Most people are aware when they develop diabetes, however, if you aren’t aware of all the symptoms the swelling in your feet and ankles can come as a shock. When blood sugar levels are high, the body tries to get rid of the excess sugar by spilling it into the urine. This causes the body to release more water, which leads to swelling, most commonly in the feet and ankles. Along with swollen feet and ankles, common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, and weight loss.
An infection, such as cellulitis, can also cause swollen feet and ankles. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin and tissues underneath the skin. This infection can cause the affected area to become red, warm, swollen, and painful. Along with swollen feet and ankles, common symptoms of cellulitis include fever, chills, body aches, and a general feeling of being unwell. Other types of infections that may lead to swelling in the feet or ankles include abscesses and fungal infections.
Peripheral vasculopathy is a condition that affects the blood vessels outside of the heart. This condition can cause feet and ankles to swell, as well as the hands and arms. The reason for this swelling is that the blood vessels can’t transport blood and oxygen as efficiently as they should, which causes fluid to build up in the tissues. Other common symptoms you may experience due to peripheral vasculopathy include numbness and tingling in the extremities, pain in the extremities, and blue or purplish color to the skin.
Edema is a condition that is characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the tissues. This can lead to swelling in the feet and ankles, as well as the hands and face. The cause of edema can be many things, such as severe protein deficiency, cirrhosis of the liver, damage to certain veins, and pregnancy. You may also notice other common symptoms of edema such as difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and chest pain.
So, what do swollen feet and ankles mean for your health? In short, there are a few things that could be causing the swelling, some of which are more serious than others. If you’re experiencing any other symptoms along with swollen feet and ankles, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Swollen feet and ankles can be a sign of something as simple as dehydration, but they can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes or liver disease. By being aware of the various causes of swollen feet and ankles, you can better assess your own risk and take the necessary steps to protect your health.