Sometimes swelling only occurs in one foot and ankle. It would make sense if there were an injury but, what if there wasn’t? If the veins in the legs, the heart, or kidneys are at fault the swelling would typically be on both sides. Certain medications can also cause swelling on both sides.
So, what can cause swelling on one side? A stress fracture, bone tumor, and arthritis are common reasons only one foot would swell. An undetected bone or joint problem is also a possibility. We can often make a diagnosis of these problems by taking a regular x-ray. If more advanced imagining is needed then a CT scan or an MRI can be ordered.
A blood clot in one leg can also cause swelling just on that side. For this reason alone, having swelling evaluated early is mission critical. If you’ve never heard this before, a blood clot can go to the lung and lead to death. An ultrasound of the leg is a simple diagnostic test used to determine if a clot exists.
A blockage in the pelvic area can also cause swelling on one side. An ultrasound is also the diagnostic tool to help detect this. Our intention isn’t to scare you with these potential causes of one-sided swelling but rather to encourage you to not ignore such a condition.
Wearing shoes can be problematic on the swollen side. Some activities may need to be avoided due to balance issues. Of course, the aesthetic component can’t be lost on having the feet look different. We are sensitive to the emotional reasons why someone would be motivated to eliminate such a nagging problem.
Maybe more than usual, an early diagnosis of one-sided swelling is highly encouraged. Swelling of any kind isn’t normal but the one-sided version can be more serious. Effortless mobility depends on both feet being happy and healthy.