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Top 6 Culprits Behind Swollen Feet and Ankles

When your feet or ankles swell, it’s your body’s way of sending a distress signal. But here’s the kicker – don’t brush it off as a mere inconvenience. Those swollen extremities could be trying to tell you something significant. Is the swelling creeping to other parts of your body? Does it worsen in the morning or at night? And what eases the swelling? These puzzle pieces hold the key to uncovering the cause of your discomfort and guiding your healthcare provider toward the right treatment. So, if you’re dealing with feet and ankle pain and swelling, it’s time to delve deeper, as these issues often hint at an underlying condition beyond just a mere injury.

1. Venous insufficiency

Those long periods of sitting or inactivity, particularly during travel, can wreak havoc on your lower legs. Blame it on gravity – it’s causing blood to pool in the lower part of your body. This can gradually weaken the blood vessels in your legs, leading to venous insufficiency. The result? Your legs and feet are protesting with swelling. If your job demands a lot of standing or walking or if you’re carrying excess weight, you’re at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Ignoring venous insufficiency isn’t wise, as it might pave the way for deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition where clots obstruct blood flow back to the heart. Worse, these clots could break loose and travel to your lungs.

2. Musculoskeletal conditions

The harmony of cartilage, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and bones in your feet and ankles can be disrupted by overuse injuries or degenerative diseases. Arthritis, tendinitis, and bone fractures can all trigger swelling in your ankles and feet. Engaging in sports can also lead to post-injury swelling. Your active lifestyle might be taking a toll on your precious feet.

3. Pregnancy

Swollen feet and ankles often raise their heads during pregnancy. Blame the extra fluid that your body’s retaining. This not-so-welcome visitor brings not only foot and ankle swelling but also a puffy face and hands to the party. It’s medically termed as edema. The changes your body undergoes during pregnancy can also put pressure on your blood vessels, potentially hampering blood flow from your legs to your heart.

4. Organ failure

Swelling could also signal trouble in essential organs like the heart, kidneys, or liver. These organs usually work together to regulate fluids and proteins in your body. Should one of them stumble, edema in your lower legs might be the result.

5. Diabetes

Swelling in the feet is a red flag that those dealing with diabetes shouldn’t ignore. Coupled with warmth and discomfort, it could signify an ongoing infection. If you’re grappling with diabetes and your feet or ankles are swelling, don’t delay – consult a podiatrist. Swift action and timely treatment could spell the difference between retaining your limb or losing it.

6. Spending too much time on your feet

Long periods of not moving around might cause edema. Fluid and blood are pumped to and from your limbs when you move. If your job requires you to stand or sit all day, take breaks to stand up, sit down, stretch, or go for a walk to prevent fluid from building up in your feet.

The bottom line 

Swollen feet and ankles can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, some of which can be fatal if not detected and treated promptly. As a result, instead of ignoring your symptoms, get medical attention to determine if they are the result of a minor issue or something more serious. Furthermore, pregnant women should consider visiting a doctor as soon as they suspect something is wrong with their health in order to avoid future health problems for both themselves and their unborn child.

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