Swollen Ankles-Causes, Treatment

Swollen ankles can arise from different kinds of causes and reasons. One thing is for sure, a swollen ankle causes inconvenience to each and everyone who has it.

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There are two common reasons for the occurrence of swollen ankles. It could be caused by an injury that causes fluids near the joint of the ankles to accumulate in large amounts; or it may be due to a disease that causes overproduction of fluids in the body, leading to swollen ankles. The first step in treating swollen ankles is to determine what caused it to happen.

Swollen ankles causes

There are a variety of reasons for swollen ankles. And since it is important to know the real cause for this, let’s scrutinize each cause one by one:

• Immobilization – relaxation of the muscles causes fluids to fill up in the veins, and the contraction of the muscles causes those fluids to be squeezed out. If a person is just standing or sitting for 8 hours straight, this will cause the muscles in the legs to just relax and gather fluid near the joints of the ankles and feet leading to swelling.

• Traumatic injury – a sudden twist or sprain of an ankle or an accident that causes the joints in your ankle to break can cause the flow of fluids to alter in different directions. This will lead the fluids near the joints to accumulate in great amounts and develop swollen ankles.

• Ankle Arthritis – Ankle arthritis is a disease that arises when the tibia or the bone in your shin, and the talus, the bones of your ankle wear out. When this happens, your ankle will be inflamed causing it to swell. This usually happens in people who have rheumatoid arthritis and to overweight individuals.

• Gout – Our body produces uric acid in order to digest food properly and get rid of waste. Gout occurs when there is an excess production of uric acid in our body. The excess will now then be circulated within our system and the uric acid accumulates in the joints especially on the ones in the ankles and would cause them to swell.

• Infection – Infection seldom causes swollen ankles. That is why when detected, medical attention should be given and you must see a doctor as soon as possible. This can either be caused by cellulitis, wherein there is an infection in your connective tissues near the ankles or infection of the joint itself.

• Peripheral Edema – This often arises when a lot of pressure is placed on the leg veins leading to swelling of both feet including the ankles. Examples would include pregnancy, obesity and varicose veins. These conditions put too much pressure to the feet because of carrying too much weight or due to prolonged standing.

• Medications – Some drugs may cause swelling of the ankles. These medications would include antidepressants, diabetes medications, high blood pressure drugs, hormone therapy and steroids.

• Vascular Obstruction – There are plenty of diseases that impair normal circulation of blood. Majority of which is related to a heart problem or a blood clot.

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o Cardiomyopathy – when there is an abnormal pumping of the heart muscles, fluids may gather in the joints of ankle causing it to swell.

o Cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis) – The arteries harden due to excess cholesterol on the walls of the arteries. This causes a difficulty in pumping fluids into the heart, the fluids will now settle on the joints of the ankle rather than being circulated towards the heart.

o Deep vein thrombosis – This is when a blood clot forms and circulation is altered greatly. Some fluids are stuck near the joints of the ankle creating a swollen ankle.

o Endocarditis and Pericarditis – Endocarditis is the infection in the lining of the heart, while pericarditis is the infection in the lining that surrounds the heart. Both diseases alter blood circulation and causes swollen ankles.

Swollen ankles treatment and relief

Once the cause is determined, it is time to take the necessary action to solve the problem. If your swollen ankle was brought about by minor causes like immobilization, here are a few useful tips on how to reduce the swelling:

• Drink plenty of water in order to flush out the fluids that’s settled in the joints.

• Lie down and elevate your legs to a position that it is above your heart. You can use pillows to place your legs on to raise them. You will notice a relaxing feeling of circulation on your legs. Do this especially if you’ve been putting too much stress on your legs like standing up for hours straight.

• Wearing of support hose or socks will improve one’s circulation of blood and ease up swollen ankles in the process.

• Taking a diuretic would also help get rid of the body’s excess water. However, consult your doctor before doing this because there might be other problems that may arise when you take in a medication without proper instructions on how to administer it, when to take it and what to avoid while using that medication. It is also advisable that you eat bananas or other foods rich in potassium while taking some types of diuretics to increase the potassium level in your body.

• Walking is the most effective way to improve circulation of the blood. As mentioned, the muscles in our legs help in pumping blood towards our heart. But take note not to overdo this exercise, it is important to just do it in moderation.

• When you tend to sit or stand too long because your job requires you to do so, take time to move your toes, flex your heels or move around every few minutes to improve circulation.

• If the swelling in the ankle has gone on for long, you need to visit your physician because this might be indicative of a more serious disease.

Swollen ankles often arise due to poor circulation of fluids in the body. It is better to prevent this by getting proper exercise and eating the right kinds of foods. Keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure.

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