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Swollen Ankles and Feet? Here Are Common Causes & Solutions

Swollen Ankles and Feet? Here Are Common Causes & Solutions

When your feet or ankles are swollen, it’s uncomfortable and difficult to walk. Swelling of the lower extremities is known as edema. Your doctor is always happy to help track down the issue, though it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the most common causes of edema in the meantime.

Edema Can Be Caused by Excess Salt Consumption

In moderation, salt is a necessary nutrient that helps your body maintain the right fluid levels. Get too much, however, and you increase the chance of your ankles and feet swelling. You can reduce your salt intake to just 1,500mg to 2,300 mg a day to see if this might be causing edema in your case. Bumping up your water intake is helpful, too.

Sedentary Lifestyle Can Play a Role

Sitting around too much can lead to swelling in the feet and ankles. This occurs as fluid pools in the lower extremities as a result of gravity and inactivity. This effect is compounded in people who are overweight, as they often have decreased blood circulation.

Health Problems Associated with Edema

Swelling in the feet and ankles can be caused by certain health problems that affect the balance or flow of fluid in the body, such as:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Lymph system damage

A protein deficiency can also cause your feet and ankles to swell up, as can pregnancy. You will need to work with your doctor to rule out health concerns as the cause of the swelling.

Edema is Sometimes a Side Effect of Medication

swollen feet

Your doctor or pharmacist can also help you find out if any of your regular medications are causing swelling in your lower extremities. Medications that can cause this side effect are typically used to treat:

  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

Go over your medications with an expert to determine if any you take cause edema as a side effect.

Finding Relief for Swelling in Feet and Ankles

With a clear understanding of the cause of your feet and ankle swelling, you can start to work toward finding lasting relief.

  • If the edema leads back to a sedentary lifestyle, consider working five minute breaks into every hour to get up and move around, effectively preventing swelling from setting in.
  • If salt is the culprit, however, then reducing intake to around 1,500mg a day might be the key to finding relief.

You should bring your healthcare provider into the loop as well, so they can rule out health problems and medication side effects as the cause. They will make sure you are in optimal health and even provide tips you can try in relieving the swelling. They may suggest wearing compression wraps, for example, or using elevation to decrease edema symptoms and regain your mobility.

If you’re in need of a primary care provider, give Ogden Clinic a call at 801-475-3000. We have family health practitioners at nine locations throughout Northern Utah. At your visit, you can start tracking down the causes of the swelling in your feet and ankles, getting the care you need right away.