Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    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.

Quick GuideBurning or Swollen Feet? What Foot Pain Says About Your Health

Burning or Swollen Feet? What Foot Pain Says About Your Health

What are the symptoms of swollen ankles and swollen feet?

The symptoms of swollen feet and swollen ankles depend on the underlying causes mentioned above.

  • In general, swelling caused by dependent edema, pregnancy, medications, and most diseases produce swelling that is bilateral (present in both feet or ankles ) and usually begins as a soft, puffy skin enlargement in the feet that spreads rapidly (often within hours) to the ankles.
  • The skin is easily indented when pressed down with a finger and slowly returns to its more puffy state when the finger pressure is removed.
  • Indentions seen in the puffy skin when shoes or socks are removed are classic signs of swelling.
  • The skin color with this swelling is often normal or slightly pale; indentation marks are slightly darker than the surrounding swollen tissue.
  • Many individuals can simply position themselves on their backs, elevate their feet and ankles higher than their hearts, and after some time (often a few hours), the swelling may resolve completely. However, in some chronic diseases and with some medications taken for long time periods, the swelling becomes chronic and the skin becomes more rigid, reddish and sometimes mildly discolored or mottled and will not return to normal after a few hours of elevation. For example, many people with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) will have chronic bilateral swelling of feet and ankles with skin changes. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 7/15/2015
References
REFERENCES:

American Pregnancy Association. Swelling During Pregnancy. April 1, 2014

Dumitru, I., et al. Heart Failure. Medscape. April 22, 2015

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