What Causes Foot and Ankle Swelling? Part I

Orthopaedic & Spine Center
Dr. Joel Stewart

Joel D. Stewart, MD

As an orthopaedic physician who specializes in the treatment of the foot and ankle, I see many patients who come to me with swollen feet and/or ankles.  I can treat those patients for whom there is a musculoskeletal reason for the swelling, but some patients have other clinical reasons for their edema.  In this article, I’ll review some of the most common reasons for foot and ankle swelling and how these issues should be treated.

First, let me list a few issues/conditions that cause foot and ankle swelling that are not musculoskeletal in nature and which should be monitored/treated by your PCP or other Specialists:

  • Liver, Heart or Kidney, Disease
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Venous Insufficiency
  • Certain Medications
    • Hormones, as in birth control or menopause treatment
    • Steroids
    • Blood Pressure Meds
    • Antidepressants

Next, let me start by saying that almost anyone can have a swollen foot or ankle for a variety of reasons, but most of the time the swelling is temporary and resolves when normal activity resumes.  Those reasons are:

  • Sitting for too long – like on an airplane or long car trip without walking around
  • Standing for a long period of time without sitting, without proper footwear or floor padding
  • Menstruation in women or those who take estrogen
  • Being overweight
  • Being older in age

In the next article, I’ll highlight the musculoskeletal reasons for foot and ankle swelling and how I treat those issues.

Request AppointmentMake an appointment for Swollen Feet or Ankles

Call (757) 596-1900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart. Visit our Contact Us page for information on office hours. Our office is located in Newport News, VA. We are 40 minutes from Virginia Beach and an hour from Richmond, VA.