Various types of conditions can trigger swollen ankles including inflammatory conditions, injuries, systemic diseases and abnormalities with the blood vessels. Certain types of swollen ankles can be accompanied by diminished functionality of the joint and discomfort.
In some cases of swollen ankles, they do not cause any pain and do not seem to disrupt with the function. Proper diagnosis of the underlying cause of ankle swelling is the initial step so that the doctor can start the appropriate treatment plan.
An ankle sprain develops once the ligaments that support the ankle bones together are overly stretched and tear. Bruising, pain with weight-bearing, swelling and instability of the joint are the usual symptoms of a sprained ankle.
The degree of swelling relates to the severity of the injury. The severity of the ripping apart in the ankle ligaments concludes the suitable treatment that can include getting enough rest and strengthening exercises or even surgery of the ligaments.
Arthritis typically affects the ankles with symptoms such as pain, swelling, loss of mobility and stiffness. The degree of the swollen ankles often reflects the severity of active joint inflammation.
A previous injury to the ankle increases the risk for the development of ankle arthritis. Even obesity also increases the risk for the common forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment for arthritis usually depends on the form of arthritis and the severity of the disease. In severe cases, fusion of the ankle bones or joint replacement might be considered.
Swollen ankles and feet have been an indicative symptom of heart failure. When it comes to heart failure, the weakened pumping capacity of the heart leads to water retention by the kidneys. Accumulation of fluids in the bloodstream seeps into the tissues, resulting to painless edema. Medications that help improve the heart function as well as diuretics that promote urinary excretion of water can often reduce the swollen ankles linked with heart failure.
If there is a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg or deep venous thrombosis, it can cause swollen ankles and legs. The swelling might be accompanied by sore pain in the affected leg but this is not consistently present.
The potential risk factors for deep venous thrombosis in the leg include lengthy inactivity, injuries to the leg, immobility due to surgery or illness, pregnancy, obesity or female hormone therapy. Treatment involving the use of a blood thinner or anticoagulant can help prevent clots. The medication can also prevent the clot from dislodging and travelling to the lungs.
Depending on the exact cause of the swollen ankles, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor once an individual ends up with swollen ankles that seem to persist or becomes worse.