Swollen feet and ankles are frequent symptoms for many of us. This unpleasant condition is usually caused by prolonged standing or walking, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or pregnancy. But in some cases puffy feet and ankles are a red flag for more serious health issues, which shouldn’t be ignored.
Here at Bright Side we’ve taken a closer look at underlying health problems that can cause feet and ankle swelling, and here’s what we’ve learned.
1. Your veins may be blocked.
When your venous system functions properly, the valves in your veins do not let the blood pool down in your legs. As we age, the valves tend to work less efficiently, and we may retain the blood in our feet.
Deep-vein thrombosis is another vein-related problem that can lead to leg swelling. Blood clots block the return of blood from the legs to the heart,
keeping the fluid down in your feet. Without treatment, this condition may get dangerous, as blood clots can travel in your body, if they get loose. These traveling blood clots could reach the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, or even lead to an ischemic stroke if they block an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
2. Your heart may be working improperly.
Leg swelling, or edema, may also be caused by heart failure. When the heart doesn’t have enough pumping power, it fails to push the blood from your feet to the upper part of the body.
Leaky heart valves may be one of those types of heart failure that cause feet and ankles puff up. Be particularly careful if you notice any other symptoms of heart disease that could include chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath.