Swollen Ankle

Swollen ankles and feet are common and can be a concern to many people. However, feet and ankles that stay swollen could be a signal of a serious health problem. There are several  factors leading to your ankles swelling. Let’s look at some possible causes of foot and ankle swelling.

Foot or ankle injury 

An injury to the foot or ankle can lead to swelling. The most common is a sprained ankle, which occurs when an injury or misstep causes the ligaments that hold the ankle in place to be stretched beyond their normal range.

Sports activities

Runners may be prone to the development of swollen ankles both during  and after the activity. Overuse injuries like stress fractures, tendonitis and so on are the most serious cause of swollen feet in runners. 

Ill-Fitting Shoes

Serious runners know that properly fitting footwear is crucial when it comes to maximizing performance. It should come as no surprise then, that ill-fitting footwear not only impairs performance, but may also cause the body to react in unusual ways.

ll-fitting running shoes may pinch the toes, heel or ankle thus forcing the muscles to work harder to maintain balance. This increased demand on the muscles, bones and ligaments of the feet is often to blame for swollen feet during or after a run.

Improper Running Technique

Using improper running technique may also cause swollen feet. While running, you should take long strides. It is important to use the proper gait to avoid the ankles from swelling.

Venous insufficiency

Swelling of the ankles and feet is often an early symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition in which blood inadequately moves up the veins from the legs and feet up to the heart. Normally, the veins keep blood flowing upward with one-way valves. When these valves become damaged or weakened, the blood leaks back down the vessels and fluid is retained in the soft tissue of the lower legs, especially the ankles and feet.

Infection

Swelling in the feet and ankles can be a sign of infection. People with diabetic neuropathy or other nerve problems of the feet are at greater risk for foot infections. If you have diabetes, it is important to inspect feet daily for blisters and sores, because nerve damage can blunt the pain sensation and foot problem can progress quickly. 

Heart, Liver, or Kidney Disease.

 Sometimes swelling can indicate a problem such as heart, liver, or kidney disease. Ankles that swell in the evening could be a sign of retaining salt and water.On the other hand when kidneys are not functioning properly, fluid can build up in the body.

Medication side effect

Many drugs can cause swelling in the feet and ankles as a possible side effect.

Lymphedema

This is a collection of lymphatic fluid in the tissues that can develop because of the absence of or problems with the lymph vessels or after the removal of lymph nodes.

Pregnancy Complications

Some swelling of the ankles and feet is normal during pregnancy. During pregnancy, edema occurs when body fluids increase to nurture both you and your baby and accumulate in your tissues.

Elevate your legs whenever you are lying down. The legs should be raised so they are above your heart. You may want to place a pillow under your legs to make it more comfortable.

Incase of a sport injury, use ankle support  and consult  a physical therapist for proper healing  and rehabilitation.

  • Stay active and focus on stretching and moving the legs.
  • Reduce your salt intake, which can decrease the amount of fluid that may build up in your legs.
  • Avoid wearing garters and other types of restrictive clothing around your thighs.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Wear support stocking and compression socks.
  • Stand up or move around at least once every hour, especially if you’re sitting or standing still for long periods of time.

However, it is important whenever there are any signs of ankle swelling or frequent swellings to consult a physical therapist and a physician.

Written by:
Danson King’ori
Physical therapist
Chiropractic & Physiotherapist Health Centre

Constantly Having A Swollen Ankle Or Ankles?

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