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Orthopaedic Specialties

19Swollen Feet and Ankles

Common Causes of Swollen Feet and Ankles

Swollen feet and ankles are commonplace and usually are not cause for concern, especially if you have been standing or walking a lot. But when feet and ankles remain swollen or occur along with other symptoms, it could indicate a serious health issue. Swelling in the feet or ankles can be influenced by various factors, including:

        • Your Diet
        • Poor circulation
        • Pregnancy
        • Injury
        • Overuse
        • Medical Conditions
        • Shoes that don’t properly

      An injury to the foot or ankle may frequently lead to temporary swelling. The most common injury is a sprained ankle. Spraining an ankle can occur when an injury or misstep triggers the ligaments that support the ankle to be stretched beyond their normal range.

      swollen feet and ankles

    • Caring for an Injured Foot or Ankle

      Reduce the swelling by keeping the injured ankle or foot elevated, wrap the foot or ankle with a compression bandage; ice packs can also help. If the pain and swelling are severe or don’t improve with home treatment, make an appointment with a healthcare professional.
      Chronic swelling of your feet may indicate a more serious problem and should be evaluated by a physician.

      Caring for Swollen Feet

      It’s essential to take care of your feet to help prevent or reduce symptoms related to swollen feet. Inadvertently, some people alter the way they move their body in an attempt to prevent painful movements. Unfortunately, this can lead to other painful signs throughout the lower leg and foot. Some people may experience symptoms with their ankles, knees, hips, or back as a result of changing their walking gait. Symptoms felt may include:

          • foot pain
          • swollen feet
          • leg pains
          • leg cramps

      If you are experiencing swollen feet frequently, you may want to determine if you need to changes your lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables will help to minimize inflammation or swelling.

    • If you are active and experiencing swollen feet, you may want to evaluate your activities and how often.
    • Often, when beginning a new exercise routine, some people push themselves too hard and over train their bodies, leading to an injury. If you are partaking in activities that are causing pain and swelling, you may have an injury that requires treatment. Be aware of the signs and symptoms to help prevent long-lasting injuries.
    • Swelling in the Feet with Leg Pain

    • Some individuals who experience leg pain may be due to foot pain. Leg pain may appear after a previous foot or ankle injury or lack of flexibility. Performing strengthening and stretching exercises may help reduce the pain. These types of activities may also prevent leg cramps from occurring. Leg cramps can occur from a lack of mobility for an extended period of time. They can also happen from lack of exercise or dehydration. Stretching regularly is recommended to help lengthen muscles. Also, stretching can help to prevent cramping and other injuries.
    • If Your Feet are Swollen use the RICE Method

    • Employing the RICE Method to treat your swollen feet is usually recommended.
      R – Rest
      I – Ice
      C – Compression
      E – Elevation
    • Utilizing orthotics, wearing the proper shoes, strengthening exercises, NSAIDS, ice, and compression wraps to manage and decrease swelling or pain in the foot.
      Orthotics will provide appropriate foot support along the arch, especially for runners. In addition, wearing the proper shoes and strengthening the muscles in the feet will supply a natural arch support so that the use of orthotics may become unnecessary. Compressions wraps, NSAIDS, and ice may be applied to reduce the swelling. Swelling in a joint reduces sensory perception and may impact your ability to maintain your balance.Your physician may recommend that you wear compression stockings to help to decrease the amount of swelling in your feet and lower leg.
    • Assess your activity level daily, especially if you are beginning to exercise or training for a specific event. Also, make sure to allow time for your body to recover. It’s suggested that you start slowly and progress the intensity and duration of the workouts to avoid injuries. If the signs and symptoms discussed above continue and result in pain during activity, loss of function, or pain at rest, you seek further medical attention from a physician.

At Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine, we have foot and ankle physicians specializing in sports medicine as well as foot and ankle injuries. If you want to learn more about foot and ankle issues, visit the Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine Foot and Ankle Center.