Ankle edema might be an indication of a serious underlying condition. This involves the irregular accumulation of fluid in the tissues. If not promptly treated, ankle edema due to an underlying condition can progress to serious symptoms.
Other possible causes of ankle edema can be readily remedied once identified early. The treatment measures for the swelling usually depends on the cause. In most cases, the doctor should be consulted so that a diagnosis can be given and start the suitable treatment.
Medical care for ankle edema
Ankle edema might necessitate medical care in some cases. Swelling involving the lower extremities might be an indication of congestive heart failure. The treatment for ankle edema due to cardiovascular disease typically includes beta-blockers to slow down and minimize the workload of the heart, cardiac glycosides to improve the pumping action of the heart, ACE inhibitors to maintain a low blood pressure level and diuretics if needed.
The restoration of the blood flow to the heart due to a blocked artery involves surgery, angioplasty, stenting or medications. The presence of blood clots in the leg can also lead to ankle edema.
The blood thinning medications are given to manage clots or deep vein thrombosis. The doctor might prescribe anti-platelet drugs for vascular diseases affecting the legs that can cause swollen ankles.
Elevation of the legs
Raising the legs above the level of the heart can help manage ankle edema. Oftentimes, the ankles become swollen after standing too long, travelling by air or driving all day.
Individuals who have varicose veins are prone to ankle edema especially if the weather is warm. This develops once the small-sized valves in the legs become useless and could no longer close properly. The fluid builds up in the ankles and feet from gravity.
Diminished circulation from peripheral vascular disease that leads to clogged blood vessels in the legs can also cause ankle edema. Pregnancy can also cause swelling of the ankles and can be managed by elevating the legs, avoiding long periods of standing and exercise. Most causes due to circulatory issues resolve overnight and can recur at the end of an active day.
Certain medications can cause ankle edema. It is best to consult a doctor for alternative medications especially if the swelling is triggering physical or emotional discomfort. The medications that can trigger ankle edema include calcium channel blockers utilized to manage high blood pressure and heart disease, hormones, steroids and anti-anxiety medications.
The compression socks can be used for poor circulation in the legs. The stockings are commonly used to manage ankle edema. The drawback is the discomfort while they are used during warm weather.
The compression garments for ankle edema are also known as support hose. These socks or stockings can be used by both women or men. They work by applying gentle pressure on the veins in the legs to improve the circulation and return of venous blood from the lower extremities, minimizing the accumulating of fluid in the ankles, feet and legs.