Known as edema in medical jargon, swelling is a pretty common phenomenon especially in our feet and ankles. It’s painful at times and it gets pretty uncomfortable to walk too. What causes swelling though? Here are 8 causes of swollen feet and ankles:
SITTING OR STANDING FOR LONG HOURS: One of the most common reasons for a swollen ankle is prolonged sitting or standing, especially if your job involves this. When you move around, the muscles involved in that movement actually help pump fluid and blood to and from your limbs. If your movement is restricted, blood tends to pool in the feet and ankles.
PREGNANCY SIDE EFFECT: The body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. And a typical change is swollen feet and ankles. The American Pregnancy Association explains that when a person is expecting, their body produces extra fluid and blood which soften the body, and help in expansion as the baby grows. Other causes of swollen feet in pregnancy include hormonal changes and pressure on veins.
INJURY: According to Prevention, another common reason for swollen feet is injury. It could be anything, from a minor incident like your feet hitting a coffee table, to a major collision or spraining your ankle while running. Not only does this brings healing cells, but also contributes to swelling in order to stiffen and immobilise the injured joint.
INFECTION: Chances are that if you have an untreated wound, the bacteria in your bloodstream can get into your joints too. The most noticeable signs of infection include redness, warmth and tenderness in the inflicted area.
Infants and older adults are the most vulnerable to septic arthritis. In septic arthritis, bacterial or fungal infections result in painful joint inflammation, coupled with fever and redness. Cellulitis, a skin condition can also result in swollen feet and ankles.
POSSIBLE LYMPHEDEMA: Lymphedema refers to a condition when your lymph nodes get damaged or removed. This is mostly done as a part of cancer treatment. The body sends extra fluid which gets pooled to an extreme level. Signs of lymphedema include a tight feeling in arms or legs, hardening of skin, trouble sleeping among others.
WEIGHT: Being overweight or obese can also cause swelling. There maybe two reasons for this. First, being overweight means there’s stress and pressure on your feet which results in fluid retention in those joints. Second, hormonal shifts can also cause fluid retention, as a result of extra hormones that get stored in extra fat cells.
SIDE EFFECT OF CERTAIN MEDICATIONS: Sometimes, certain medicines (Over-the-counter ones too) interact with your body in a complex way, causing swollen ankles and feet. Certain medications can cause fluid retention. Some blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatory steroids, and even NSAIDs may have that effect.
YOU MIGHT HAVE ARTHRITIS: Arthritis is a very common condition that affects people (particularly older adults) all over the world. It essentially refers to joint inflammation, characterised by stiffness, swelling, tenderness and pain in joints.