IF your shoes and socks won’t fit because of ballooning feet or ankles, consider these potential causes.
You might notice the foot or ankle swelling at the end of a long day, or if you’ve been sitting for hours at your desk or gaming.
The following list offers some idea of what could be behind the problem.
• FOOT INJURY — Some swelling is to be expected if you twist or sprain your ankle or break a bone in your leg or foot. This will reduce naturally as you heal. The recommendation your physiotherapist will probably give for a sprain is rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
• INSECT BITES OR STINGS — If you’re allergic to insect bites, or get bitten by a swarm of mosquitoes or fleas, the area may not only become itchy but also swollen.
• BURN WOUNDS — Spilling boiling water on your legs or even too much time in the sun can cause a painful burn which may be accompanied by some swelling. If there are blisters or the skin is very red and sore, get medical attention.
• TIGHT CLOTHING — Very tight-fitting skinny jeans and other clingy clothes can put too much pressure on your muscles and prevent normal circulation.
• INFECTION — Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that often affects the lower legs. It can be serious if left untreated, so if the swollen skin is red and painful, or you have symptoms such as fever or muscle aches, get to a doctor.
• ARTHRITIS, INCLUDING GOUT — Joint swelling is a common symptom experienced by arthritis sufferers, and anyone who has gout in their feet knows the throb of a painfully swollen toe.
• DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS — This is a commonly known side effect of sitting for long periods, for example during long flights. If you have swelling or pain after a long period of inactivity, get it checked out.
• VARICOSE VEINS — Blood vessels that are dilated and visible can cause symptoms such as pain, swelling and itchiness.
• PREGNANCY — With a big bump creating pressure in the abdomen, there can be swelling in the legs. Bear in mind if this is sudden or extreme it could be a sign of a problem, so check with your doctor that all is well.
• OBESITY — Carrying a lot of extra weight can put pressure on your legs, ankles and feet and contribute to swelling.
• UNDERACTIVE THYROID — Hypothyroidism is associated with fluid retention in the limbs and even the face.
• HEART, LIVER OR KIDNEY FAILURE — When the heart can’t pump blood properly, fluid can pool in the lower legs. Likewise, failure of liver or kidney function could cause fluid retention.
• MEDICATION — Medication, especially for chronic conditions, may cause swollen ankles. Examples include some medication for high blood pressure, depression and contraceptives.
Joint swelling is a common symptom experienced by arthritis sufferers... anyone who has gout in their feet knows the throb of a painfully swollen toe.