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? (Continued)

Occasionally, specific medical problems will show additional or relatively unique symptoms, for example:

  • Symptoms of gout include swelling of the big toe with redness, warmth and pain, arthritis with swelling and joint pain, or electrolyte imbalance with low magnesium causing foot and leg cramps.
  • Sudden appearance of bilateral feet and ankle swelling during pregnancy (usually after 20 weeks) can be the first symptoms noticed in females with preeclampsia.
  • Unilateral swelling of the foot or ankle usually has the same symptoms described above if the underlying cause is unilateral lymphedema, venous insufficiency or blood clots. However, with blood clots there is often pain generated when the swollen area has pressure applied to the area. Venous insufficiency, when chronic, often has skin changes in color and texture as described above but may also develop skin ulcers or secondary infections.

Injury or infection of the ankle is usually unilateral, but can be bilateral. Injury or infection is often, in the early stages, limited to either the foot or the ankle, but may spread to each other. Swelling due to trauma usually is localized to the injured area (for example, ankle sprain or plantar fasciitis in the foot); in some instances, the swollen skin area may be damaged by abrasion, laceration, or bruised. Pain usually accompanies traumatic foot or ankle injury. Some infections of the foot or ankle may show localized swelling due to abscess formation (tight smooth skin, warm, and sometimes oozing pus) while other infections (cellulitis) show generalized swelling and warm skin, often with redness of the skin. Pain often is present where infection is located. 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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