Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Swollen ankles and swollen feet facts
- What causes swollen ankles and swollen feet?
- Who is at risk for swollen ankles and swollen feet?
- What are the symptoms of swollen ankles and swollen feet?
- How are swollen ankles and swollen feet diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for swollen feet and swollen ankles?
- What home remedies help sooth symptoms of swollen ankles or feet?
- What are the complications of swollen ankles and swollen feet?
- Can swollen ankles and swollen feet be prevented?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) for swollen feet and swollen ankles?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What home remedies help sooth symptoms of swollen ankles or feet?
One of the best home remedies for swollen ankles, feet, and toes is to elevate the swollen extremity slightly above the level of the heart. This is easily done by having the person lie down face up on a bed or couch, and then place pillows under the heels so the feet and ankles so they are higher than the person’s chest.
Sitting on a plane seat or on the office chair (or for hours at a time anywhere!) may cause lower extremity swelling. Periodic leg muscle movement by extension and contraction by simply by occasionally walking will help. Some physicians also recommend wearing support hose. Other suggestions are listed in the prevention section below.
What are the complications of swollen ankles and swollen feet?
Swollen feet and ankles can lead to discomfort and pain when walking or running is attempted. Chronic swelling can lead to skin color changes and skin ulcers. The skin ulcers can occasionally become infected. The skin infections can be further complicated by abscess formation, cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and death.
Can swollen ankles and swollen feet be prevented?
In many situations, the swelling in feet and ankles can be reduced or prevented. The following is a list of ways to reduce or prevent ankle and feet swelling:
- Exercise to improve circulation and fluid distribution
- Eat a healthy diet; too much salt may cause fluid retention, hypertension and swelling
- Interrupt sitting or standing several times a day and elevate the feet and ankles above the heart
- Lose excess weight to retain less fluid and decrease pressure on muscles and joints
- Consider using support stockings or hose
- Examine prescription and other medications; consult with the doctor if medication may be responsible for fluid retention
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and other substances that can lead to underlying causes of swelling
Because there are so many underlying causes of feet and ankle swelling, there are numerous ways to avoid or reduce the chances for their development. The reader is urged to follow up on this article by reading about ways to prevent underlying causes of swelling.
What is the prognosis (outcome) for swollen feet and swollen ankles?
The majority of people with swollen feet and ankles have a good to excellent outcome because the swelling is usually reversible and has no lasting complications. However, a significant number of patients who have underlying causes that are chronic and refractory to treatment have a wider range of prognosis (good to poor) depending on how well the patient responds to both lifestyle changes and medications.
American Pregnancy Association. Swelling During Pregnancy. April 1, 2014
Dumitru, I., et al. Heart Failure. Medscape. April 22, 2015
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