10 Reasons for Puffy Ankles
Women in particular are prone to an uncomfortable and unsightly disorder: puffy ankles. Known as edema in the medical world, swelling in the area of the ankles can be due to many different causes, including fluid retention. Becoming familiar with the most common causes of fluid retention that are making the ankles swell can help you to avoid them in the future.
Retaining water is a self defense mechanism that the body adopts when insufficient amounts of water are being brought into the body. Fluids are a necessary part of all bodily functions, assisting to flush toxins from the body, used to transport vital nutrients to a variety of cells and also is a lubricant to areas in the body that require a moist environment such as the eyes, nose and mouth. In fact, up to ¾ of the body’s weight is due to water. When well hydrated, the body performs at its optimal efficiency. Since people normally lose a certain amount of water naturally through sweat, breathing, urine and bowel movements, it is essential to replenish our supply of fluids in order to allow our bodies to perform well.
When the amount of water leaving the body through normal processes exceeds the amount of water being taken in, the body recognizes immediately through its in-house monitoring system that it is deficient and will begin to take measures to protect itself. It begins to shift fluids and store them in cells and blood vessels, not allowing the kidneys to filter the fluids present in the body. This retention of fluids plumps the cells, creating uncomfortable sensations and appearances in different areas of the body such as puffy ankles.
The top causes of water retention and the resulting swelling are:
- Drinking insufficient amounts of water to replenish the body’s stores.
- Consuming too much salt. Although the human body relies on a certain concentration of sodium, too much of the element triggers the thirst mechanism. The additional water we drink moves from the bloodstream into skin cells; plumping and producing a puffy look.
- Process of gravity. Sitting or standing for extended periods of time can allow the bodily fluids to settle in the lower extremities, which create swelling.
- High temperatures. Hot weather or a building that is excessively warm affects how our bodies transfer fluids through the system; slowing it down to the point that edema occurs.
- Burns to the skin. Burns on the skin can produce swelling as the body holds on to fluids in its self defense methods. Once healed, the natural movement of fluids begins once more.
- Kidney disease. When the kidneys do not put enough fluids and sodium, the pressure within blood vessels increase; pushing fluids out of the vessels into tissues; creating swelling.
- Menopause. During menopause, the fluctuation and decreased production of hormones plays a part in the speed that water is transferred through the system with general edema, including puffy ankles, as the result.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy is another hormonal imbalance situation that can temporarily lead to swelling, especially in the legs, ankles and feet.
- Premenstrual Syndrome. Yet another condition where a change in the balance of hormones secreted affects the body’s attempts to move fluids throughout the body.
- Allergies. When an insect bite occurs to someone who is allergic to the venom, the body responds by sending fluids, causing temporary swelling.
Swelling can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but can be avoided in most cases. A proper diet, adequate fluid intake and avoiding situations that are conducive to swelling are usually all that is required.