What Causes Swollen Ankles And Lower Legs

What Causes Swollen Ankles And Lower Legs – In the medical world, edema, swollen legs, feet and ankles can be very annoying and scary. If left untreated, swollen feet can cause pain, difficulty walking, stiff joints and stretched skin. The causes of swollen ankles can range from minor things to life-threatening, but our experts have learned why ankles swell like balls.

Although the causes vary depending on what’s causing leg swelling, the symptom of swelling occurs when fluid builds up and collects in the spaces between tissues and organs, explains Jillian Adams, MD, family physician and medical director of MedStar Alexandria. This fluid reservoir can leak into the tissue and cause swelling. Additionally, it is more common in the legs, feet, and ankles because gravity pulls the fluid down.

What Causes Swollen Ankles And Lower Legs

Sitting for too long can have serious health effects. If you work in a job that requires you to stand or sit for long periods of time, you may develop some swelling in your feet as a result. “When you move, the muscles involved in that movement help move fluid and blood to and from your feet,” says Stephen Weinfeld, MD, chief of foot and ankle surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. City, explains. Without the extra help of moving muscles, blood and fluid can accumulate in the legs and feet.

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Dr. First, the stress on the joints, excess weight can cause fluid to build up around the joints. Additionally, excess hormones stored in excess fat cells can contribute to hormonal changes that cause fluid retention, he says.

Whether you’ve stepped on a coffee table or sprained your ankle, trauma is probably the most common cause of leg swelling, according to doctors. When you injure your leg, your body sends more blood to the area, explains Weinfeld. “This not only brings in healing cells, but also promotes inflammation to stiffen and immobilize the affected joint,” he says.

Calf injuries can also cause calf swelling, Dr. Because fluid builds up under the calf, it can cause inflammation and fluid buildup, Adams says. Additionally, blood vessel damage or trauma can cause swelling, he says. In case of injury, swelling may be accompanied by redness or bruising.

Because of their complex interactions with the body, a number of medications (including OTC) can contribute to leg swelling. Dr. “Some blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory steroids, and even NSAIDs like Advil can have this effect.” Hormones like estrogen and some antidepressants can also leave you with ball feet.

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Dr. Venous insufficiency, a condition in which your veins don’t work properly, can affect blood flow back to the heart and pool it in your legs and feet, Weinfeld says. “Veins have one-way valves that basically stretch over time and allow fluid to leak out,” he explains.

This happens when the valves are damaged or weakened, for example due to aging or prolonged sitting. More common in people over 50, venous insufficiency develops slowly over time and is more common in women than men.

Our lymphatic system carries a fluid called lymph (which contains white blood cells and waste products) throughout the body. In lymphedema, a damaged or blocked lymphatic system causes fluid to accumulate in the legs, says the US National Library of Medicine. Although some cancers (and cancer treatments) can cause lymphedema, infections can also cause swelling. Dr. Symptoms of lymphedema include heaviness or stiffness in the arms and legs, inability to move properly, recurrent infections, roughness or thickening of the skin, and sleep disturbances.

Arthritis, which includes a number of specific diseases, refers to a condition in which the joints become swollen, painful, stiff, and difficult to move. More common in the elderly, it can affect the entire body, including the legs. “When I get an X-ray and see someone with ankle arthritis, that can explain any swelling in the area,” says Dr. Weinfeld, who says the inflammation associated with arthritis causes the joint to swell.

What Causes Ankle And Feet Swelling, What Should I Do?

One of the most alarming causes of swelling around the leg (which often spreads to the leg) is a blood clot, says Daniel Poll, founder and CEO of Easy Orthopedics.

“If you have a lump on one side of your leg that keeps getting higher, you should get it checked out,” says Poll. In some cases, blood clots can travel to the lungs and cause a dangerous pulmonary embolism (blocked pulmonary artery). In addition to swelling, go to the emergency room quickly if you have other symptoms of a blood clot, such as pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, redness or discoloration of the skin, and warmth in the area. .

In heart failure (due to coronary artery disease or high blood pressure), at least one of the heart’s chambers cannot pump blood properly. Dr.

If a patient has swelling in both legs, heart failure is one of the first things a doctor will think of, Dr. Adams said. If the heart can’t pump blood efficiently, fluid flows back and forth, accumulating in the legs, he says.

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Most often, it occurs in the legs and feet, which causes swelling. In severe cases, he may raise his leg. Other symptoms of heart failure include: shortness of breath, fast or irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, problems concentrating and chest pain caused by a heart attack.

Among the many changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, swollen legs and feet are the most common. That’s mainly because of all the extra blood and fluid a woman produces while she’s expecting, which softens the body and helps it expand as the baby grows, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the veins can cause swelling during pregnancy.

Bacteria that enter the bloodstream can end up in one of your joints. One of the symptoms of infection? Swelling, as well as tenderness, warmth and redness.

Infants and the elderly are particularly susceptible to septic arthritis, in which a bacterial or fungal infection causes joint inflammation with redness, pain, and fever. Skin conditions such as cellulitis — a bacterial infection that spreads quickly and gives the skin a red, scaly appearance — can cause leg swelling, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, because it often occurs in It occurs on the lower leg in adults.

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Kidney and liver failure, which affects the amount of fluid in the body, also causes fluid retention, which leads to edema. According to Dr.

In the case of kidney damage or disease, the kidneys retain too much fluid and sodium or not enough protein in the blood, which causes it to accumulate throughout the body, especially in the lower extremities, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dr.

Liver disease also includes low levels of proteins in the blood, which can “wash out” fluid and cause swelling in the lower body. Dr.

If you’ve never had leg swelling before and it’s sudden, it’s a good idea to see your doctor, Adams says. This ensures that the swelling is not serious, especially if it is only in one leg.

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The best thing you can do to help with leg swelling is to elevate your feet and watch for symptoms, says Dr. Adams. For example, you can place your feet on an ottoman and prop them up with at least two pillows to remove excess fluid from your feet. Avoiding salty foods, wearing tight clothing, or standing or sitting for long periods can also help, she says. He notes that exercise can be a great way to encourage regular abdominal movement and avoid compression sores, as long as you don’t discuss them with your doctor.

Lauren is a freelance writer and editor, certified personal trainer and fitness and health editor for Women’s Health. You’ll find her walking, lifting weights, working her downhill dog, or visiting the farmers market.

And enjoys sharing her favorite health and nutrition insights. She previously managed content at The Vitamin Shoppe, and her work has been featured

, etc. You can usually find him doing an online exercise class or messing around in class

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