Edema of the ankles

Painless swelling of the legs and ankles is a commonproblem, especially among the elderly. Abnormal accumulation of fluid in the ankles, feet and legs is called peripheral edema. A painless increase can affect both legs, and can include even thighs. Due to the effect of gravity, edema is especially noticeable in the lower part of the body.

Edema occurs in the following situations:

  • Prolonged permanent residence in one place
  • Long flights - plane or car
  • Menstrual period (for some women)
  • Pregnancy - an excessive swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a severe condition is sometimes called toxicosis, which includes high blood pressure and swelling
  • Excess weight
  • Increase in age
  • Ankle or foot injury

Swollen legs may be a sign of the heartdeficiency, renal failure, or liver failure. In these conditions, there is too much fluid in the body. Other conditions that can cause swelling in one or both legs include:

  • Blood clot
  • Infections
  • Venous insufficiency (when the veins in the legs are not able to adequately pump the blood back to the heart)
  • Varicose veins
  • A bite of an insect
  • Hunger and malnutrition
  • Operation on foot
  • Blockage of lymph nodes in the leg area (lymphatic obstruction)

Some drugs can also cause the leg to swell:

  • Hormones, such as estrogen (birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy) and testosterone
  • Drugs of the adrial pressure
  • Steroids
  • Antidepressants, including MAO inhibitors (eg, phenelzine and tranylcypromine) and tricyclic (for example, nortriptyline, desipramine and amitriptyline)
  • Raise your legs above your lying heart.
  • Do exercises on your feet.
  • Wear stockings.
  • Follow a low-salt diet that can reduce fluid retention and swelling.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a decrease in urine output.
  • You have a history of liver disease, and now swelling in your legs and stomach.
  • Your swollen feet are red or warm to the touch.
  • You have a fever.
  • You are pregnant and you just have a slight swelling or there is a sharp increase in the tumor.

Diagnostic tests that can be performed are as follows:

  • Blood tests, such as CBC
  • ECG
  • Chest X-ray and extremities
  • Analysis of urine

Specific treatment will be directed at everything,where the cause will be found. Diuretics can be prescribed. They are effective in reducing edema, but there are some side effects. Avoid sitting or standing, do not move for long periods of time. When flying, stretch your legs and often get up when possible. Regularly do physical exercises. Lose weight if you need.