Swollen Legs & Ankles

Swollen Legs & Ankles

Many people suffer from swelling in the legs and ankles on a daily basis. There are several different reasons for swelling in the legs which should all be fully worked-up by a trusted podiatrist to treat the underlying conditions.

Most often, swollen legs are the result of a combination of factors including:

  • reduced heart function
  • diet
  • sedentary activity
  • standing for long periods
  • leaking veins (venous insufficiency)
  • kidney and liver disease
  • medications

A very serious cause of swollen legs can be from blood clots. Typically swelling will be in one leg and there will be pain in the calf, thigh or groin.

  • This condition is an emergency and needs to be urgently evaluated with diagnostic tests to diagnose and prevent the clot from moving to the lungs and leading to death.
  • This condition is preventable with early detection and immediate treatment.

Diet related changes are a common reason people have swollen legs after an increase in salty foods in the diet. Salt causes your body to hold more water than normal and increase swelling.

  • Decreasing salt intake can make a huge difference in swelling as well as elevation and compression stockings.

For most people with heart disease, a poorly functioning heart contributes to serious bouts of swelling.

  • This condition should be managed properly by the cardiologist and the swollen legs can be addressed with compression wraps or stockings and elevation.
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Sitting all day is not only bad for your health but it also contributes to swelling when the veins are pinched behind the knees and the hips. This leads to a buildup of fluid and swollen legs because the blood is not flowing out of the legs. On the other hand, standing all day leads to swollen ankles and causes the veins to become weak from all the blood sitting in the veins and not circulating. Both of these situations lead to leaky veins and a condition called venous insufficiency when the veins do not work properly.

  • Walking and compression stockings treat this condition by pumping the blood out of the veins back into circulation.

Complications with kidney and liver disease can cause swelling in the legs due to poor filtering and circulation of fluids.

  • Ask your specialists about medications to combine with compression stockings and elevation for treating swollen legs.

Although it is a common misconception that diabetes causes swelling in the legs it is not related to being diabetic. Diabetic patients may also suffer from conditions such as venous insufficiency, heart and kidney disease that cause swollen legs and ankles. Treatment of swollen legs can be frustrating because it all depends on the underlying cause of the swelling. Some medications can cause swelling so ask your prescribing doctor for more information. We can help if you are experiencing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet by performing a thorough evaluation and creating a treatment plan that is right for you.

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