Swelling in the ankles is a common trouble that does not generate an immediate fear for medical attention. This stands true, especially for those with a job that involves several, continuous hours of standing or walking. However, ankles and/ or feet that have a tendency to stay swollen, or are accompanied by distinct symptoms could possibly signal towards a solemn health trouble. It is essential for the physician to determine the precise cause responsible for development of swollen ankles, such that the appropriate treatment for the same can be initiated. Let’s go through some of the possible causes that lead to painful and unsightly, fluid filled ankles.
9 Causes of Ankles Swelling
An injury, which has severity, ranging from mild to severe, can lead to ankle swelling. Perhaps, the most common form of injury is when a misstep, or rigorous exercise causes the ligaments to be pulled beyond their limits of tolerance resulting in a sprain. Trauma to the tissue, as well as the structures, initiates accumulation of fluid and simultaneous inflammation.
The swollen ankle hurts while making an attempt to walk, extend or rotate the injured ankle. This is the reason why cold fermentation and complete rest are recommended. To lessen the swelling, a compressive bandage is snugly wrapped over the ankle and the foot is kept elevated to prevent further pooling of fluid.
Pregnancy Induced Ankle Swelling
Although mild degree of bloated ankle and feet is considered normal in an expectant mother, sudden onset or constantly recurring, massive swelling may be indicative of Pre eclampsia. As the unborn child grows within the expanding size of the uterus, it begins to exert more pressure on the blood vessels as well as other pelvic organs. This change interferes with the flow of fluids back to the heart, resulting in ankles looking bigger than expected.
Pre eclampsia is a medical disorder that occurs in pregnancy and is characterized by elevated blood pressure (or hypertension) and presence of protein in urine. Immediate assistance should be availed if excessive swelling occurs coupled with symptoms of headache, pain in the abdomen, nausea, changes in vision and decreased frequency of micturition.
Venous Insufficiency and Ankle Swelling
A medical condition known as venous insufficiency can trigger ankle swelling in the initial stages. This condition results due to insufficient progression of venous blood from the lower aspect of the body up to the heart via the veins. Damage or weakening of the valves in the veins gives way to reverse flow of blood,leading to abnormal retention of blood in the soft tissues of the legs, primarily, the feet and ankles.
One can certainly take swelling that targets the ankles as a sign of infection too. This stands true in patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes, specifically diabetic neuropathy or nerve disorders involving the feet. The same goes for infections which take place either in the soft tissues surrounding the ankles, for example, cellulitis or within the ankle joint.
This is why diabetics are always advised close inspection of their feet and ankles for the formation of blisters or sores as damage to the nerve blunts the feeling of pain, silently advancing the ankle swelling.
Deep Venous Thrombosis
Other than weakening of the valves in the veins, formation of blood clots within the same can hinder the normal course of blood from the lower legs to the heart. Both, superficial as well as deeply placed blood clots can be the basis for ankle and/or leg swelling.
Of the two, it is the deep blood clots which prove to be life threatening in case they occlude single or multiple major veins running through the legs. In case you have noticed swelling in either or both of your ankles coupled with mild fever, pain and slight discolouration in that particular leg, see your doctor without delay.
There exist several types of drugs, which can initiate, swelling in the ankle region as a probable side effect. Such drugs cause retention of fluid, causing the ankles to swell up. Here, is a compilation of those medications which are linked with ankle swelling. Patients using Calcium channel blockers, a class of blood pressure lowering medicines such as Nifedipine, amlodipine, verapamil and diltiazem often report of ankle swelling.
Similarly, Steroids, such as Prednisone, hormones like estrogen, testosterone (components of hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptive pills) as well as anti-depressants like Amitriptyline belong to the category of ankle swelling inducing drugs. Thus, if one suspects that swelling in the ankle region initiated after consumption of certain drugs, it is best to speak to your doctor, for either modification in the dosage or its replacement by another drug.
The localized pooling of lymphatic fluid within the tissues, due to either complete absence or incomplete lymphatic functioning is responsible for puffy looking ankles. Thus, removal of lymph nodes or any ailment involving them can block the normal movement of fluid along the network of thin capillaries.
If left unattended, the collection of protein rich fluid leads to an ineffective destruction or removal of notorious bacteria. Ankle swelling is a characteristic finding in patients undergoing radiation therapy to treat cancerous growths.
The buildup of uric acid crystals in the synovial fluid found in the joints ultimately leads to inflamed, painful joints. This classical symptom of gout attack of the ankles is accompanied by swelling, redness and stiffness.
Disorders Of the Heart, Kidney Or Liver
Many a time, ankle swelling may hint towards ailments involving the heart, kidney or liver. Right sided heart failure results in retention of salt plus water which results in swollen ankles, specifically during evening time. Improper functioning of one or both the kidneys can also result in more fluid accumulation and consequently, ankle swelling.
If the health of the liver gets impacted due to any reason, the production of albumin lags, causing leakage of blood from the wall of the vessels and into the tissues along with fluid leakage. These changes, in combination with gravity pull results in many changes like fatigue, weight gain and swelling of feet and ankles too.
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