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unexplained left foot/ankle swelling

I am 25 years old and very healthy. I am not overweight, I work out regularly, eat healthy, don't smoke. For the past 3 months I have been having severe swelling in my left foot and ankle. At times the swelling continues into my calf and causes a discomfort. I first noticed the swelling after I got home from the gym one evening. I took my shoe off and my foot was huge for no reason. I have not had any injuries, insect bites or infections. The first doctor I went to took x-rays which came back normal and ran a CBC which also came back completely normal. He told me I would just have to live with the swelling and wrote a Rx for Lasik PRN to help. The Lasik does help when I take it but as soon as I stop taking it the swelling comes right back. I've been told not to take it long term as it can effect important vitamin levels. I wasn't ready to just treat the symptoms and live with it so I went to an Internist who took me off birth control pills thinking it could be hormones but the swelling continued. She then sent me for a venous doppler test which also came back normal. She is sending me for an untrasound of the heart tomorrow. If the heart tests come back normal what else could be causing this unexplained swelling? It is only in the left foot/ankle and pitts for about 30 seconds when pushed on. Has anyone else had a similar experience with a diasnosis? I am afraid that I'm at the end of the road with tests and the doctors can't seem to figure out what is causing this swelling in a young, healthy person.


This discussion is related to Unexplained Swelling of Left Foot/Ankle.
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
High blood pressure causes pooling of fluids in your legs.
Also any problem with venous shunts or drainage of veins also causes this.
If everything is normal and all your parameters are normal then you keep your legs elevated while you sleep and also while working do not stand for long hours and try to sit and also keep your legs on a stool stretched and it will help.
Without any medical problem, you should not worry.
Take care!
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1 Comments
i am 16 and I have the exact same issue with left swollen ankle and foot.
Avatar universal
I'm having the same problem and went to a vascular specialist.  He said that I have venous insufficiency, which is caused by the veins in my legs being enlarged.  I am supposed to wear suppor hose for 30 days and go back to see if that worked, if not we will consider surgery.  Apparently it is not life threatening and is treatable.
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144586 tn?1284666164
The fact is there are a variety of potential reasons for a single swollen foot/leg, especially for a 25 year old. This is unusual. You appear to be describing what is called "pitting edema". Very usual at age 25.

You need a dopplar scan of both legs to rule out vascular issues.

Your physician is prudent in examining the heart. She is looking for a venous preload proble, which is unlikely at your age.

You also need to cut down on salt.

As for a diuretic, 1000mg - 1500mg of crystaline vitamin C in two or three divided doses mixed with food/drink should be tried before going to Lasix.

Please post back when you get a diagnosis from your M.D.
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144586 tn?1284666164
I meant to say "unusual" at age 25.  
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Avatar universal
I finally was diagnosed with a rare condition called Lymphedema. Basically there is a problem with my Lymphatic system for an unknown reason it is not properly draining the lymph fluid out of my foot. There is no cure and the only treatment is to wear compression stockings. Hopefully if you have the same symptoms this will help you to discuss this condition as a possibility with your doctor.
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Avatar universal
Hi Kris,  I have pretty much the same thing, and they did diagnose it as Lymphedema.  The swelling started when I was 30 and is just in my right foot.  It's been three and a half years and thank God the condition hasn't worsened.  How are you doing?  

I want to nothing but cry when I read about Lymphedema.  Some cases are so horrible.  I am used to being a healthy athletic person and I just want to know how to reverse this condition as the lymphatics were functioning just fine up until I got this at 30.  I've seen several lymphedema practitioners, they don't know how to reverse the condition, just treat it.  I'm looking for more people like you and me who got the condition later in life.  

Do you wear heels ever?  How often do you were compression?  Do you work out?  Are you considering pregnancy?  Please respond if you can as I'm trying to learn how this condition affects people who got it later in life.  Thanks.  

If anyone has a similar story please comment as well.
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1 Comments
does it have any correlation to your diet? have you kept a food diary and tracked flair-ups for a month to look for patterns? some reactions take 1-3 days to happen so it's hard to connect it to a specific element of your diet.

has anyone ever considered fungal infection? candida? yeast? some natural remedies to try on your own: saturated potassium iodide (not over the counter, but potassium iodide powder is, so just buy that then dilute it in water youself) and/or oregao oil taken internally and applied externally.

https://socratic.org/questions/how-do-you-make-saturated-solution-of-potassium-iodide

http://gnowfglins.com/2015/09/14/how-to-use-oregano-oil-safely/
Avatar universal
Hi...I am a 28-year-old female who in April 2008 started experiencing ankle swelling that would come and go. I went to my GP and she told me I was fat and needed to lose weight...so I lost almost 40 pounds. I was doing fine for awhile...until August 2009 crept up and the swelling started staying. And then there wasn't just swelling in my ankles, it continued to the tops of my feet, my legs, my fingers, my neck and my middle.

So I went back to the doctor and she sent me to the cardiologist. Healthy. Then I went to my gyno. Healthy. Then I went to a Vascualar surgeon. Healthy. And then an Endocrinologist. Healthy. And then I was referred to an Allergist. Healthy. Finally at a nephrologist...he tells me I have something called Leaky Capillary Syndrome and that my edema is called Idiopathic Cyclic Edema. I research it and find out that only 57 or so people have this condition and that no one knows a treatment/fix. So it's now April 2010 and I am still having no luck. I have been put on diuretics which don't help at all. I'm coming into summer time AGAIN and I can't even wear most shoes/clothes because of this. I WISH someone would figure something out. The nephrologist that I went to doesn't know what to do either.

Maybe that'll open your eyes to something similar.
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Avatar universal
Hi wafflecat. I too was very upset when I first began researching lymphedema. There is a surgical procedure that can in some cases reverse the symptoms but my vascular doctor didn't recommend it because she claims it causes more harm than good and the success rate it low.

I do wear heels quite a bit even though it isn't good for the feet. I wear compression stockings about 3 times a week under my pants and when I wear them it really feels good on my legs and I can tell a difference. They are not very fashionable but they do work. I am not at a point in my life where I am condsidering having children but I do plan to have them one day. I understand that having children can make lymphedema worse but I will take that chance. My swelling comes and goes and most people don't notice it until I point it out but I can tell especially because of the discomfort. It is usually around my ankle bone and on the top of my foot.

I do workout often and staying active seems to help improve my circulation and keep swelling down especially if I wear tennis shoes because the tightness acts as compression. I have noticed a pattern that when I am stressed or in the heat I notice more swelling. I hope that this helps you. I know that it is frustrating but try to stay positive.
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Avatar universal
Good Evening,

I am a 21 year old female and I have been dealing with this same issue now for two years. My swelling began on December 25, 2008, I remember the exact date because it was my 20th birthday. For 4 months I tried the compression socks but it was more of a hindrance than a help. I am 5'7" and 140 lbs, and the doctors (I saw three) couldn't figure out what is wrong with my left foot either. After a a little over half a year the pain had mostly subsided, except for an occasional flair up, and I am wearing heels again.
Besides it being a nuisance, it really doesn't bother me much except for slight discomfort at times and when it swells up more than usual. I was told that more than likely it is lymphedema, but never took the time to look up what exactly it is. But reading your words has prompted me to learning more about it.

Thanks,
Jess
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Avatar universal
I have the same kind of swelling and pain in both of my ankles. It started when I was 24 and in the best shape of my life. 7 years and 2 ankle surgeries later nothing has changed. I can't exercise without severe pain for days after and I have been tested for everything under the sun. I've seen 4 orthopedic surgeons, someone for RA testing, and the last thing was lymphedema therapy. My last doctor suggested I go to the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic that specialize in strange conditions. He still thinks its lymphedema but the therapy didn't help and she was a great therapist. So, I'm stumped with all of you! I hope together we can solve this problem!!

Jan, Kentucky
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Avatar universal
Hi. I'm 26, almost 27, and I am starting to have something similar happen to me. Since this past summer, I've been having a weird pain on the top of my left foot, mostly when I first would wake up. Usually, the pain would be gone by the end of the day. But for the last two weeks, the pain and swelling have not gone away or gone down. It's uncomfortable to wear a shoe, and the pain is strange-feeling, sort of stinging, like a bad sunburn, but under the skin. I just went to the doctor today and she ordered some blood work and x-rays of both feet for a comparison. From the sound of things here, it sounds like it might be difficult to figure out what's wrong. I know one test ordered was for Lymes disease.
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Avatar universal
Hi. I'm 26, almost 27, and I am starting to have something similar happen to me. Since this past summer, I've been having a weird pain on the top of my left foot, mostly when I first would wake up. Usually, the pain would be gone by the end of the day. But for the last two weeks, the pain and swelling have not gone away or gone down. It's uncomfortable to wear a shoe, and the pain is strange-feeling, sort of stinging, like a bad sunburn, but under the skin. I just went to the doctor today and she ordered some blood work and x-rays of both feet for a comparison. From the sound of things here, it sounds like it might be difficult to figure out what's wrong. I know one test ordered was for Lymes disease.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi there. This could be trauma, infection, autoimmune disorder and spine disc degenerative disease. Consult an orthopaedician for examination of the foot to rule out any trauma, fracture bone and comparison with the better foot, radio graphically. This could be peripheral neuropathy secondary to vitamin b complex deficiency, diabetes mellitus etc. autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders like gout need to be checked with blood tests. MRI spine needs to be done for lumbar disc degeneration, prolapsed or spondylosis. Hope this helps. Take care.

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Avatar universal
I too have this same condition.  I have had it for years now.  It started, all of the sudden one day after doing some yard work.  My food got very swollen, red and hot.  I had not fallen, I had to bites or infections and it was very painful.  After the pain went away, the swelling never did.  

I went to my dr (at least 4 times), the chiropractor, a podiatrist. I had scans done of my legs, xrays done of my foot and everything came back normal.  I even went to the gynecologist just to make sure everything was alright.

My diet seems to affect it, as does the weather. When it's hot my foot gets very swollen, when it's cold it goes down.  I like to wear sneakers really tight as it acts as a compression.  I only wear certain kinds of shoes - shoes that cover the top of my foot because I've very self conscious about it.  Its only uncomfortable when my foot is extra swollen.  I have had 2 children and with each one the swelling was incredible - but since both feet swelled the dr said it was fine.    

After reading all of these comments I will be doing further research.  They told me I was just going to have to live with it.
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Avatar universal
I have had one foot swollen for 12 years and last year I decided to go gluten free because of a rash I developed and within 6 weeks the swelling in my foot was almost gone for the first time.  Just might want to give it a try.  I too never wore sandals or anything that might show my foot because I was uncomfortable.
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Avatar universal
Have a complete Thyroid Panel. Very indicative of Graves Disease. I too experienced this and that was my first symptom.
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Avatar universal
Hi I have just been reading this thread, I have what my pain clinic Dr/Consultant calls  sever true sciatic for 9 months now which has caused me to be unable to continue as a proper independent person and in this time I have also been diagnosed with no thyroid which causes me to fall asleep at the drop of a hat and in the last 5 months a very peculiar occurrence has happened to me, my left foot and ankle has swollen to the size of a blown up rubber glove leaving just these flailing toes at the end of it also both my feet feel like they have invisible bruises on the dorsal sides but there has been NO injurys to either of my feet save for the bulging lumbar disk in my back.
I feel that my body is falling apart on me!  My mum a month before she passed away gave me some water tablets to try and well they don't work, I have seen my doctor and he said I have to put my feet up and have them at the same hight as my hips, but thats not working.
Could this be a symptom of my thyroid problem? or my Sciatic problem?
I want to know what the heck is going on with me for a few reasons
A. because my socks are tight on my feet, my shoes and rubber clogs don't fit and even getting a size bigger  become to small.
B. Its just my left foot and very slight odeama in my right foot.

Does any one think whether it could be a reaction to medications, or my age (42),has any one tried any holistic approaches as well as the medical approach if so what was it and for how long, has this had any impact on your situation or symptoms ( my chosen profession is relfexologist)
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Avatar universal
Finally, I've come to a site where individuals are experiencing the same problem with JUST one lower leg, foot, ankle.  I just went to a rheumatologist in the city and they did ultrasounds complete of both legs from the groin down, then XRAYS of both legs from the knee down, then XRAYS of both feet, a chest XRAY and a full blood work up.  All tests came back that I'm great, but I still have the problem.  I don't understand any of this.  I'm thinking about trying the gluten free diet also to see if that helps.  Any other ideas??
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Avatar universal
Hi there, I'm 21 and have experienced swelling in my right foot for the last 2 1/2 years. For me, it was following a few very painful injuries on the foot (girl trod on me with heels etc) and an intensive ballet show. I have seen orthopaedic doctors, physios, had MRIs etc etc. Eventually I saw a vascular surgeon this year and he thought it was lymphedema due to the trauma and prescribed me compression stockings to wear every day.

This is a very sad issue for me too, as like you, I'm a healthy and fashion conscious young girl. I wear the stocking when I'm on my feet the whole day (at uni, work etc), or if i'm at the gym or exercising but don't wear it if I go out at night or if I want to get my legs out in summer. I wear heels sometimes, but I bid goodbye to my very high ones and opted for some more medium height, chunky ones with more support. I find very flat shoes that offer no support are actually worse than a moderate heel, so I steer away from these. I can sometimes wear them for a little while if I'm wearing my stocking, which I wear underneath tights or trousers.

Other than a stocking, drinking lots of water, regular exercise (I do dance - though not ballet anymore - go to the gym, swim, lots of exercise classes, badminton etc) and elevating my feet when I'm at home really helps. Also, I'm going to see a lymphedema specialist soon who will hopefully suggest massage and maybe custom fit a better stocking. Hope this helps a bit, Sarah x
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Avatar universal
I am a 29 years old and for the past 5-6 years I have been suffering from lymphedema in my left foot. I have had numerous tests and seen numerous doctors of the years and I've received the same response from all of them: there's no treatment to reverse this, and that I will have to live with it.
I can't express how upsetting that news was/is... with modern medicine today, it is so difficult to believe that there is no cure for this.

I am very delicate with my foot: I elevate it and have eliminated salt completely from my diet. No heels, more exercise and I try to wear compression stockings when I can.
The heat (especially the humidity) really swells up my foot.

I catch myself looking at, even after so many years, so many peoples' ankles while I'm in public, hoping I will find another person with my problem... and I never have. This is so rare; maybe that's why there is no cure... not enough research money towards this because so few people have it.

Maybe one day we will have a cure :)




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Avatar universal
I'm 27 male and am having same problem in right foot. I was kicking a heavy bag at the gym last year that wasn't properly anchord. So i kicked it wrong when it was swinging and it kind of hurt my foot. Didn't think much of it...about a week later after getting off an airplane, my foot started to hurt and it swelled up. Went to several docotrs. They gave me all kinds of antibiotics, pain killers, anti-inflam. Gave me a splint and crutches and had me stay off of it (keeping it elevated above my heart). Had x-rays and no bone issues. The problem went away and i thought i was ok.

11 months later, the issue has come back. Once again, X-rays, sonograms, blood tests, manay docotors. Nothing seems to work.

I was on Prednisone for 10 days and the issue seemed to be gone. Soon as i stopped taking the pills, the issue came right back. So the Dr. gave me prednisone for the next month. I have a fealing its only treating the symptoms and not the cause.

I'm going to try and switch to a gluton free diet as suggested by Reyenga. My grandma can't have gluton eigther but she is a good bit older than me. Seems odd that i have an issue like this at my age.
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Avatar universal
I've had the same issue for two years. Same doc. answers. Had 3 ultrasounds, numerous x-rays, and cat scans.  They just can't seem to figure out what it is.  The last visit I had, the doc. (who specialized in veins) said I had lymphedema -- I beg to differ.

I'm a healthy, 23 y/o female, who exercises regularly.  The problem tends to flare up when I haven't had enough sleep, eat any sweets, too much caffeine, or alcohol.  Alcohol has MAJOR effects.

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one.  I'm going to try going gluten free and see if there's a relative effect.  Also, I'd like to cut out caffeine.  I'll keep everyone posted.  Please do the same.
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Avatar universal
1 year ago I was bitten by a spider on the top of my left foot. It swelled and became painful to walk or even tough the skin on that foot. The symptoms disappeared in a few days.

Since that event my left foot has swollen up just the same as it did with the bite on 4-5 separate occasions with each outbreak lasting 2-3 days in duration then fully disappearing. I've been to the doctor on each occasion and they don't know what is causing it.

I take 2-3 Prednisone tablets a month for a different condition and it was interesting to see that 'swollenrightfoot' was prescribed this to reduce his swelling, and it worked. Prednisone has some serious side-effects which is why I only take a few per month but my foot swelled up again today so I'm going to take them and see if it helps.

Reading all of e above posts it seems I may have Lymphedema. I'll see a doctor and find out if that's what I've got.
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Avatar universal
Like all of you I have one foot that swells when it is hot outside or if I am standing it on for a long period of time.   It happened over night.  Went to bed and the next morning it was profoundly swollen. (this happened 25 year ago) I could only fit into a pair of runners.  No idea what caused this.  Went to every known specialist including acupuncture and reflexology.  No one knows what is going on.   They did test for blood flow and the blood is not flowing as fast in the one leg.  I have learned to live with it...and yes I do wear high heels but look for styles which hide the swelling somewhat - T straps shoes or enclosed.
I do think that I will try the gluten free diet.   Anything is worth a try.
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