Several potential causes of swollen ankles and legs are common, and some, such as walking or standing for too long, can be normal and generally harmless. However, sometimes you can experience sudden or chronic leg swelling even without a traceable cause. In this case, you might be suffering an underlying health complication that is causing the swelling. Therefore, it is necessary to inquire for expert help if you experience leg swelling, particularly if you cannot trace the cause. Leg swelling specialists such as Carol A. White MD can help diagnose your condition. Besides, the following are six causes of leg swelling.
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Foot or Ankle Injury
This is one of the common causes of swelling in your legs. A sprained ankle is a common injury that can occur simply due to a misstep, sports, or exercise injury. This injury involves the connecting ligaments in your ankle becoming pulled out of alignment. You can also experience limited mobility and pain in addition to swelling.
With such an injury, you can improve the symptoms through the RICE procedure, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Feet, Ankle, or Lower Leg Infection
This is another common cause of leg swelling, particularly in those with diabetes. With the increased risk, you should ensure you inspect your legs regularly and check out for scrapes, cuttings, and bruising to attend to such complications and minimize the risks of infections. Besides, your provider can help you manage the infection depending on the severity of your condition. Antibiotics are mainly used to manage a bacterial infection, while you may require surgical intervention should your infection proceed to gangrene.
Your blood circulates all over your body, and veins are specially designed to ensure a smooth flow. In your legs, for instance, the veins have special valves that prevent the backflow of blood. However, you might suffer from venous insufficiency where the valves can malfunction, causing backflow of blood in your legs where it becomes trapped, causing swelling, among other complications.
A Blood Clot
When you experience a blood clot, your ankles and legs are likely to swell. You can experience superficial blood clots, which affect the veins closer to the skin’s surface, or a deep vein blood clot affecting the veins deep within the body. This condition can be life-threatening as the clot can break loose and travel to the lungs, heart, or brain, and that is why you need to seek medical intervention without hesitation.
Medication Side Effects
Although not common, medications can contribute to the swelling of your legs and ankles. It all depends on the type of medications you are using and your immune system’s response to them. However, hormones, steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and antidepressant medications are common medications that can cause swelling. It is essential to talk to your provider about your medications.
Swelling During Pregnancy
Women can also experience leg swelling during pregnancy. Although this is normal and common, it can be sudden and severe, requiring expert medical care. This is because it can be a sign of preeclampsia, a condition depicting high blood pressure during pregnancy. This can threaten the life of the mother and the child.
The causes of leg swelling can be diverse. However, the most helpful thing to do is seek to exert help from your provider, particularly when you experience unexplained swelling, sudden swelling, or additional symptoms of the swelling. Do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. White to explore more.