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Why are my legs and ankles swollen?

Swelling of the legs and ankles is a common problem, especially among older people.

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the ankles and legs can cause swelling. This fluid buildup and swelling are called edema.

If you notice an increase in the swelling in your legs and ankles and it’s progressively getting worse, you should contact your doctor. But before that, have a look at some of the symptoms and cures of the same.

Symptom 1

You've had varicose veins for years and they're getting worse. One of your veins has become red, tender, hot and inflamed, and your lower leg has swelled up.

It could be

Thrombophlebitis, an inflammation that causes the blood to clot in one of your varicose veins and stops the blood from returning to the heart.

Stop it

This is urgent so have somebody take you to the hospital immediately. Apply heat to the painful area, raise the leg and take NSAIDs for the discomfort.

Symptom 2

You're diabetic and you've had a urinary infection for some time. The amount of urine you pass seems to be lessening and your lower legs are swelling.

It could be

Chronic kidney disease, due to diabetes with gradual loss of kidney function and now your kidneys can not excrete enough fluid, so it collects in your feet and legs.

Stop it

Immediately inform your doctor. Controlling your diabetes is paramount to prevent further damage to your kidneys. You should have regular, frequent monitoring of both your diabetes and your kidney function.

Symptom 3

You've got high blood pressure and take heart tablets for atrial fibrillation. You are short of breath and your ankles swell.

It could be

Early heart failure where your heart is too weak to keep your blood circulating and fluid pools in the lower legs.

Stop it

See your doctor urgently for a cardiac assessment and adjustment of your medication. You should see a cardiologist for special tests.

Apart from this, complaints of wrist pain are increasing very rapidly.

Top ways to ease wrist pain

Wrist pain is common for people such as writers or cooks, who spend long periods of time on a keyboard or in the kitchen.

If you suffer from wrist pain, these tips could help alleviate it:

  • Take frequent breaks from the activity that is causing wrist pain. In extreme cases, minimize or avoid the activity altogether.

  • If you type a lot, get a cushioned wrist support pad or a supporting splint.

  • Use tools or ask someone for help with tasks that cause you pain, such as opening bottles.

  • If your wrists are stiff, loosen them up with gentle exercises and stretches. Wrap an ice pack around your wrist with a towel and leave it for 10-20 minutes, repeat it every couple of hours.

  • Take painkillers if the pain is bothersome. Your local doctor or pharmacist can advise on which painkillers will help.


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