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Is it normal to have ankle swelling?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
I just noticed that my ankles and feet and swollen. I am 24 with no health problems. I live in Canada but currently I am in India doing a course. I have been here to 3 weeks now. the only medication I am taking is Malarone. I have no pain. I am worried just because when I googled ankle swelling, I found horrifying stuff like heart, liver and kidney failure. is it normal or should I see a doctor? I am in southern India and I don't know how good medicine is over here. please help.
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 7 hours later
Hello Hala,

Thanks for posting your query. You need to see a physician and get your self examined and investigated for the cause of swelling as sudden ankle swelling in young females is not normal.

Swelling of the feet or ankles is called pedal edema and is caused by accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells or intercellular tissues.

It can be due to cellulitis, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, arthritis, high altitude ( not possible in your case), high salt intake and any blood clot in the veins causing DVT.

Are you taking some medicines like laxatives or hormone replacement treatment? Abusing these drugs can also cause pedal edema.

You need to get kidney function tests including serum urea, creatinine, uric acid, electrolyte levels, ECG and stress ECHO, venous Doppler of the legs and urine tests done.

Till that time, follow these lifestyle measures to alleviate the symptoms:
1)     Increase muscle activity with walking, avoid standing in place for long periods of time and avoid sitting with the feet dependent.

2)     Limit salt intake and stop taking any laxatives (if you are taking them).

3)     Elevate the legs when sitting and wear leg wedges while sleeping, support socks and proper fitting shoes and socks.

4)     Keep your fluid intake adequate.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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