ZocdocAnswersWhat's causing my feet and ankles to swell?

Question

What's causing my feet and ankles to swell?

I'm 47 years old and i swell a lot. It happens after sitting or standing

Answer

There are many different potential causes of swelling of the legs and ankles. Some of these are serious and some are not, which is why it is important to have the issue checked out by your primary care doctor to help sort the issue out. For example, as we age, the veins in our legs tend to deteriorate, especially in women after childbirth. This leads to varicose veins, which are less efficient at returning blood to the body from the legs, resulting in swelling and fluid retention in the ankles, especially with standing. Varicose veins are not a serious cause of leg swelling, and they can usually be treated by elevated the legs or by wearing compression stockings. On the other hand, trouble with the heart or with other vital organs such as the liver can also lead to swelling of the ankles. For this reason, your primary care doctor will want to perform a complete physical examination to rule out these serious causes. When you go to the visit, make sure to mention any other concerning symptoms, such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, or trouble laying flat as these will help to narrow down the possible causes.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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