Care for swollen ankles during pregnancy
Swollen ankles and feet typically occur after standing and walking for extended periods of time. On the other hand, ankles and feet that continue to swell can be caused by certain underlying health conditions.
Swelling of the ankles and feet during pregnancy is normal, but an excessive swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia which is a condition where high blood pressure and protein in the urine will develop after the 20th week of the pregnancy. If there is severe swelling with abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, reduced frequency of urination and changes in vision, seek medical help immediately.
Factors that contribute to swollen ankles and feet during pregnancy include the fluid retention in the body and the growing uterus which adds pressure on the veins. Even hormonal changes can also cause swollen ankles and feet.
Other causes of swollen ankles and feet
- Too much sodium in the diet can eventually lead to swollen ankles and feet. When there are high levels of sodium in the body, the individual becomes thirsty and there is increased intake of water. The water enters the bloodstream through osmosis and travels to areas of the body where there is more sodium, usually in the face and the extremities.
- Diabetes cause swollen ankles and feet
- Damage to the kidney can cause swelling of the feet and ankles. The kidney could no longer work or function normally, thus excess water can build up in the blood and start to travel to other parts of body.
- Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and other tissues. This is caused by staphylococcus bacteria and usually occurs in the legs. It starts as a red, inflamed area along with swelling and fever.
Treatment and home remedies
- Rest the feet and avoid standing for long periods of time. When seated, elevate the feet and rotate the feet and ankles. When lying down, it is important to elevate the legs.
- Sleep on the side of the body or on the left side in order to take pressure off the inferior vena cava which is the large vein that is responsible in returning blood from the inferior half of the body all the way to the heart. For added benefit, it is also recommended to elevate the legs slightly using cushions or pillows.
- Wear compression stockings.
- Maintain a daily physical activity routine such as regular walking, riding a stationary bike or swimming.
- Stand and walk in a pool in order to help compress the tissues found in the legs and provide momentary relief from swelling during pregnancy.
- Apply a cold compress over the swollen ankles and feet.
Once an individual ends up with swollen ankles and feet, you can readily perform these measures to ease the discomfort. It is best to enroll in a course on first aid today so that you know what to do.