Swollen Feet and Ankles

7 Causes for Swollen Feet and Ankles

Swelling in the feet and ankles can cause discomfort, pain, and inconvenience. Foot swelling, or edema, may be due to an underlying issue, such as poor circulation, injury, pregnancy, and fluid retention. It can also indicate serious health problems like deep-vein thrombosis or diabetes. For people with diabetes, diabetic foot care can help maintain healthy feet. Here are seven causes of swollen feet and ankles:

1. Illness

Diabetes can cause nerve damage, or neuropathy, in the legs and feet. When nerves are damaged, they don’t send appropriate messages to the muscles in the lower body. This can lead to poor circulation and decreased blood flow in the feet and ankles, resulting in swelling. Professional podiatrists can provide diabetic foot care to help prevent further complications. Other illnesses, such as arthritis, thyroid conditions, and kidney disease, may in some cases, cause swelling in the feet and ankles.

2. Injury or Infection

Another cause of swollen feet and ankles is injury or infection. Sprains, fractures, and infections in the foot or ankle can cause the area to become inflamed and swollen. Injuries that have not been attended to or are not properly healing can cause chronic swelling.

3. Inactivity

Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can cause fluid buildup in the feet and ankles, making it more difficult for blood to circulate properly. This can lead to swelling, discomfort, and even more serious complications for those with diabetes. Simple exercises like walking or stretching can help prevent buildup and swelling. Taking breaks to move around during long periods of sitting or standing can help maintain good foot health.

4. Pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with many physical and emotional changes. One common occurrence is swelling due to increased hormones and circulation, which causes your body to retain more water. Swelling can happen in various body parts, such as your feet, face, and hands. When swelling occurs in your feet and ankles, you may find it difficult to fit into shoes or walk. Elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings can help reduce the swelling.

5. High Salt Intake

Eating a high-salt diet can build up excess sodium, causing fluid retention. If you have diabetes, this could lead to complications in the feet and ankles due to poor circulation. By reducing your salt intake, you can decrease fluid accumulation and avoid potential ankle and foot issues.

6. Extra Weight

Carrying excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints and legs, leading to inflammation and swelling of the feet and ankles. This swelling can also indicate a more serious health condition, such as lymphedema, due to poor lymphatic circulation caused by excess weight. Maintaining regular exercise, sticking to a healthy diet, and managing your weight may help reduce swelling in your feet and ankles.

7. Improper Footwear

Wearing the wrong footwear can contribute to swollen feet and ankles, particularly among people at higher risk, such as those with chronic conditions and older adults. Shoes that are too tight can restrict circulation, leading to fluid buildup in your legs, feet, and ankles. High heels can cause mechanical issues that impact how you walk, leading to pain and discomfort. Wear comfortable shoes with ample room in the toe area and proper arch support to promote good circulation.

Seek Diabetic Foot Care Today

Swollen feet and ankles can have several causes, ranging from poor blood circulation, illnesses such as diabetes, injury, inactivity, or the wrong choice of shoes. For people with diabetes, swollen feet and ankles can indicate high blood sugar levels. Regular diabetic foot care can help maintain foot and ankle health. Contact a foot and ankle specialist if you experience sudden or severe swelling.