Common causes of swelling in the legs and feet include poorly functioning veins, pregnancy complications, heart disease, infections and blood clots, according to WebMD. In some cases, swollen feet and ankles occur as a normal result of heavy walking or as a side effect from certain medications.
Looking at additional symptoms is useful for determining the specific cause for swollen legs and feet, maintains WebMD. Venous insufficiency refers to the condition in which the valves in the veins of the leg become weak and damaged resulting in excess fluid in the ankle area. In addition to swelling, venous insufficiency causes skin changes, such as itchiness, discoloration and slow hair growth.
Heart disease causes leg and ankle swelling when the heart starts having trouble moving blood adequately through the body, states WebMD. Additional symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite and fluid accumulation in other body parts. Foot and ankle swelling caused by infection is most common in patients with diabetes. Infection also causes fevers and warm patches on the affected skin. Blood clots are a serious cause of swelling that also cause fever, pain and skin discoloration, and require prompt treatment by a physician.
Although some swelling feet are normal in pregnancy, a sudden increase in swelling is a sign of pregnancy-related high blood pressure, informs WebMD. Additional symptoms include headaches, nausea and infrequent urination. This condition also requires prompt medical attention.