What could cause my father's foot to swell twice it's normal size?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 10, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father's left foot and ankle are swelling twice in size. He has been experiencing this issue for over 6 months, but has got worse. He has been to a cardiologist, he told him his heart is fine, however, I know something is not right. He normal shoe size is 9, however, because of the swelling, he is wearing an 11. He says the doctor said everything's ok, but I do not think it is. Seems to be more in the left leg.

Expert Answers

Jane Andersen, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist in private practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She provides surgical and nonsurgical foot and ankle care to all types of patients, including the geriatric population in her area. With the American Podiatric Medical Association, she has worked to educate the public on foot and ankle health.

There are many things that can cause swelling in the feet and ankles. If the swelling is on both sides, we worry about venous insufficiency, cardiac issues and lymphedema to name a few. If it is primarily on one side, we worry about a blood clot (also known as a DVT), infection and injury. These are unlikely if the swelling has been present for 6 months, but not impossible. We also worry about lymphedema if the swelling is present in one leg, and something called Charcot foot if he has severe numbness. A suggestion would be to take your dad to a podiatrist who can evaluate the problem for various causes. He or she can x-ray the foot and ankle and rule out a fracture and perhaps order other tests if needed. Be sure to make note of his symptoms before you go and be able to answer such questions as: Does the swelling go down over night with elevation? Is there redness or warmth? Have there been any skin changes? Has there been fever or chills? Has he tried support stockings? Good Luck!