Swollen ankles can be due to a number of reasons, and while swelling doesn’t generally pose a significant health risk, if symptoms persist for a period of time you should consider consulting with a doctor.
Peripheral edema refers to an accumulation of fluid in the lower extremities also known as foot, leg and ankle swelling. This build-up of fluid is not typically painful unless it is due to an injury, and swelling is often made more prevalent in these areas due to gravity.
What are the main causes of swollen ankles?
There are many potential causes that could have made your ankles swell: most of these causes are influenced by lifestyle conditions or medications, such as:
- Excess weight
- Prolonged periods of standing, or alternatively prolonged periods of immobility (ie plane trips)
- Taking estrogen or testosterone boosters
- Certain medications such as blood pressure tablets or antidepressants (tricyclics or MAO inhibitors)
- Natural changes during a woman’s menstrual cycle
- Pregnancy and preeclampsia (pregnancy condition which causes high blood pressure)
- Leg infections
- Venous insufficiency / varicose veins (resulting in blood not being pumped adequately via the veins)
How do varicose veins influence ankle swelling?
Varicose veins are veins which have dilated due to a weakening in the vessel wall. Varicose veins may appear as swollen, twisted clusters of blue or purple veins, these veins return the blood to your heart so it can be recycled. The muscles in your lower legs act as pumps to help defy gravity and push the blood back up by opening tiny valves to allow blood flow before closing to prevent the blood draining backward. If these valves fail, the fluid begins to pool and the lack of circulation causes swelling. At The Varicose Vein Clinic we offer a range of treatments to help combat varicose veins, which could help you to combat swollen ankles.
Can you treat swollen ankles at home?
Yes, if you do not feel that your swelling has come on as a result of a serious injury, there are a number of measures you can try in the comfort of your own home to assist in the relief of your swollen ankles as it occurs (and hopefully prevent future relapses). Here are some tips:
- If swelling is due to inactivity, stay active and focus on exercising the legs
- If swelling is due to injury (sprain, for example), elevate the ankle and apply a cold press
- Try and reduce salt intake
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Wear support stockings where possible
- Don’t wear tight clothing
- Make an effort to move around during long travel trips (planes, cars)
When should you call a doctor?
While in many cases a swollen ankle can be a result of standing too long, it may also be a sign of something more serious. If you experience any of the following in conjunction with your swollen ankle, you should contact a doctor.
- Pressure, pain, tightness in chest
- Feeling faint
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing
- You have tried the home care methods and have not been successful
- The swelling is increasing
Your doctor will ask you when you first noticed the swelling, what time of day the swelling appears worse (if applicable) and if you are experiencing any other symptoms. For more information, contact The Varicose Vein Clinic.
What causes swollen ankles with The Varicose Vein Clinic Robina and Greenslopes
If the cause of your swollen ankles is linked to varicose veins, The Varicose Vein Clinic can help. For a treatment with minimal down time, contact The Varicose Vein Clinic today and arrange a time discuss your options.