If you notice swelling in your foot and ankle, pay close attention to your symptoms. Is the swelling spreading above your ankle? Is it worse in the morning or evening? What makes the swelling go down? Answers to these questions will provide useful information to your doctor in determining the root cause of your swelling as well as treatments.
In most cases, if not preceded by an injury, foot and ankle swelling is usually caused by an underlying condition.
Here are the top causes of foot and ankle swelling:
Being on your feet a lot or being inactive for long periods of time, such as when traveling, may contribute to swelling in your lower extremities. Gravity forces blood to pool in the lower part of your body. Over time, the pressure of gravity can cause the veins in your legs to become damaged. This condition is called venous insufficiency, and it can cause your legs and feet to swell more frequently. If your occupation requires you to stand or walk for many hours, or if you are overweight, you have a higher risk of developing venous insufficiency.
If left unaddressed, venous insufficiency can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called deep vein thrombosis, in which a clot forms and blocks the return of blood to the heart. The clot could also break off and travel to the lungs.
Your foot and ankle are made up of a network of cartilage, ligaments, nerves, muscles, and bones. Overuse injuries and degenerative diseases that affect these structures can cause swelling in the foot and ankle. Examples of such conditions are arthritis, tendinitis, and bone fractures. Swelling is also common if you experience an injury while playing sports.
Pregnant women are most affected by foot and ankle swelling. Your body naturally retains more fluid during pregnancy, which results in swelling not just in the foot and ankle but also in the hands and face. This condition is called edema. In addition, the changes in your body also put pressure on your veins, which may affect the return of the blood from your legs to your heart.
Swelling may also be due to heart, kidney, or liver failure. These organs work together to keep blood, proteins, and fluid from building up in your body. If one were to malfunction, it would result in swelling in the lower extremities.
One complication associated with diabetes is swelling of the feet. In this case, swelling is often a sign of infection and is accompanied by warmth and tenderness. If you have diabetes and you notice your foot and ankle swelling, see a podiatrist immediately. It could make the difference between losing and keeping your limb.
Swelling in your lower extremities should not be ignored – especially if it happens often. If you are experiencing swelling, it’s best to see a foot and ankle doctor (a podiatrist) and have them examine and diagnose you.
Urgent Care Clinic for Foot and Ankle Swelling in Missouri
At Advanced Bone & Joint, we provide comprehensive foot and ankle care to our patients in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri. To schedule a consultation, call (636) 229-4222 or request an appointment now.
For immediate foot and ankle care, you may visit our orthopedic urgent care clinic available in both locations. No need to make an appointment, just walk in!