Swollen Foot – Causes and Treatment
Swollen feet and ankles are commonly found and normally they are not a huge cause for concern, especially if the person stands and walks for a long time in a day. However, if ankles and feet remain swollen continuously and are accompanied by other signs, there may be a serious health problem and a swollen foot treatment becomes necessary.
Common Causes of Swollen Feet
Complications in Pregnancy: During pregnancy, swollen feet are a common occurrence. However excessive and sudden swelling may indicate preeclampsia, a crucial condition in which high blood pressure and presence of protein in urine take place after the 20th week of pregnancy. If the swelling is severe and accompanied by other symptoms like headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, vision changes and infrequent urination, immediately call your doctor.
Injury: A foot or ankle injury can cause swelling. The commonest among these is a sprained ankle which takes place when the ligaments holding the ankle in place are stretched beyond the normal range because of an injury or misstep. In this condition, you should take rest, avoid walking on the injured foot or ankle, apply ice packs, keep the foot elevated on a pillow or stool and wrap it with compression bandage. If with these home treatments swelling doesn’t improve, you should visit your doctor.
Lymphedema: Lymphedema is accumulation of lymph in tissues. This can happen due to problems with or absence of lymph vessels or following the removal of lymph nodes. Lymph is a fluid rich in proteins that usually passes through a vast network of capillaries and vessels. Its movement can be blocked with the problems in the vessels or nodes.
In addition to these, venous insufficiency, infection, blood clot, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and medication side effects can also be the reasons for swollen feet.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. The treatment can be as simple as raising the swollen foot above the heart level or rest or more complicated in the form of taking antibiotics (if there is an infection), a wrap or splint (if there is a sprain) or taking proper medication for gout or CHF.
There is usually no need for urgent treatment for swollen feet themselves. But it may be necessary depending on the underlying cause when swollen foot/feet may be a symptom of a serious problem, like:
- Congestive heart failure
- Preeclampsia in pregnancy
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Fractures in foot and ankle
- Gout and cellulitis
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