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"My ankles are swollen, should I come in and get checked out? "


I am 28 years old and just got back from a short vacation in Florida. I got sunburnt pretty bad and on the flight home noticed my ankles were swollen. They swelling went down, but there is still a bit of swelling. I just booked an annual check-up, for later this week, but should I worry and come in sooner? Thank you.


Your symptoms are concerning. There could be a number of serious causes of this problem that should be ruled out. However, if you are otherwise feeling well, I think an evaluation with in one week is ok.

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If you do develop or have any fevers, chills, chest pain, palpitations or change in your urine frequency or characteristics, then I would recommend seeing your doctor earlier or going to the emergency room. There are many causes of swelling in the legs. The first is that the veins that return blood from the feet to the heart are somewhat weakened. This is known as venous insufficiency and occurs often in older women -- but is uncommon in people your age. This is not a serious problem. A second more serious problem is if there are blood clots in your legs that are clogging the veins that return blood from the feet and therefore cause swelling. Known as venous thromboembolism -- this can be concerning. There are three other serious causes of this swelling. This includes (1) heart disease (2) kidney disease or (3) liver disease. Your doctor can evaluate these causes. If you are otherwise feeling well, your evaluation later this week should be ok. If you have any other symptoms, please see someone sooner.

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