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Joe asked...

What's causing my swollen ankles?

What's causing my swollen ankles?

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The answer

There are dozens of causes of swollen ankles, and while many of them are not serious, swollen ankles can be unsightly and uncomfortable. One of the most common causes is a group of blood pressure lowering medicines called the calcium channel blockers – the most commonly prescribed one in the UK is amlodipine. If you have swollen ankles and are taking this, your GP may be able to lower the dose (which can significantly reduce the swelling) or change you to an alternative. It’s not uncommon for your ankles to feel swollen in hot weather, especially if you spend a lot of time standing still. Having marked varicose veins can also make you prone to swollen ankles. Older people often get swollen ankles if they spend long periods sitting with their legs down. If you have swollen ankles accompanied by feeling tired or breathless on exercise, if you get breathless when you lie flat or wake up in the night gasping for breath, it is extremely important to see your doctor to rule out a cause such as heart failure or kidney problems. Swelling of a single ankle always needs checking out – while it is often due to a strain or sprain, it can be due to a clot on the leg called a DVT, which will often cause pain and redness in the affected leg as well. It can also be related to infection called cellulitis.

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