It’s not normal to have feet or ankles that appear swollen. Swelling in the lower limbs is called edema, the medical term for fluid retention. When the body hangs on to excess fluid, it has a tendency to obey gravity and pool in the tissues of your ankles or feet – or both.
The root cause of your edema may or may not be something serious, so it’s important to find the source. Expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland concur that some edema is easily explained.
For example, edema can be normal if you’re
- pregnant – hormonal changes are behind fluid retention in pregnant women
- eating a bad diet – too much salt causes the body to retain fluid; a lack of certain nutrients can do the same
- sitting for a long period of time
- taking certain medications, including some that treat hypertension and diabetes.
In these examples, the edema can be reversed by getting up and moving around, changing your medication, improving your diet, or birthing a baby!
When to call the doctor
If your feet or ankles are swollen, remove any constrictive clothing, especially tight socks, stockings, or shoes. Sit down and put your feet up. If this doesn’t help the swelling to subside, if your skin is stretched, shiny, or itchy, or if you’re having difficulty walking, then make an appointment as soon as possible at our podiatry office in Solon, Ohio. There may be an underlying issue that’s showing up as fluid retention, such as
- Malfunctioning kidneys
- Congestive heart failure
- Venous insufficiency – when veins in your leg are unable to push blood back up to the heart.
Continually swollen feet or ankles need a doctor’s attention. Dr. Oltmann and Dr. Frey will examine your feet to determine if you have edema, how extensive the problem is, and decide on the best course of action. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.