Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet

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Swollen ankles and swollen feet facts

Swelling of the ankle and feet is relatively frequent symptom in most people. In itself it does not represent a disease but rather the symptom of an underlying disease.

  • Causes of swollen ankles and feet are numerous including:
  • Most people who spend time standing or sitting and those people with causes listed above are at risk for feet and ankle swelling.
  • Swelling symptoms depend on the underlying cause so symptoms may range from a painless increase in foot and ankle diameter (size) to skin changes of color, texture changes that may be localized to one or both or ankles; other symptoms may include warm skin and ulceration with pus drainage
  • Almost all feet and ankle swelling is diagnosed by clinical observation and physical examination; tests are ordered to diagnose underlying causes
  • Treatment of swollen feet and ankles is dependent on diagnosing the underlying cause(s); some people require no treatment while others with underlying cause(s) may require several different treatments.
  • Complications vary according to the underlying disease process and vary from no complications to skin ulcerations that can lead to infection and death
  • Swollen ankles and swollen feet may be prevented in many people by simple methods, but in some individuals, reduction or prevention is dependent on more complex methods depending on the underlying cause(s).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2015

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Swelling of the Ankles and Feet Symptoms and Causes

Swelling of the feet and ankles can occur as a result of conditions involving the local extremities as well as diseases and conditions that affect the entire body. Examples of causes of swelling of only one ankle or foot are sprains and strains. Sometimes diseases that affect the entire body, such as heart disease and kidney or liver failure, can result in excess fluid buildup (edema) that is often concentrated in the legs and feet, leading to swelling not only of the ankles but also of the feet and lower legs. This can also occur with pregnancy.