Treating Swollen Feet and Ankles
Our feet and ankles swell up from time to time, especially in extremely hot temperatures or after standing for long periods, that's a fact of life. But if persistent swelling occurs it could be a sign of something more serious.
Here's how to deal with those sore, swollen feet and legs.
What causes the swelling?
Sudden swelling or inflammation in the ankles (or feet and legs) is usually a result of a build-up of fluid in these areas caused by a number of different lifestyle and medical factors. It's usually referred to as Oedema. The usual causes are:
- Standing or sitting in the same position for too long
- Eating too much salty food
- Being overweight
- Being pregnant
- Taking certain medicines (such as some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, antidepressants or steroids)
But other, more serious factors, can cause sudden inflammation in the ankles, feet and knees, and should always be checked out by your GP:
- An injury (e.g. strain or sprain)
- An insect bite or sting
- Problems with your kidneys, liver or heart
- A blood clot or an infection
What you can do to ease ankle swelling
Hopefully the swelling should go down all by itself but there are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort and help get those fluids moving back around the body.
Lying down with your feet on a good, supportive foot pillow is a great place to start. For swollen knees you could try one of these knee pillows.
Try doing some gentle exercise, like walking or cycling to get the blood flowing.
Wear comfortable shoes without heels that don't pinch or go above the ankle. Better still, get yourself a nice pair of slippers.
If the symptoms don't improve after a few days or if the swelling gets worse the NHS recommendation is to consult your GP.
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