HELP! My 5 y.o. Has Unexplainable SWOLLEN ANKLES; E.R. Docs Have No Clue.

Updated on November 19, 2007
M.H. asks from Bellwood, IL
11 answers

My 5 yr old son started itching at his ankles on Friday afternoon I thought that it was his socks being too snug, later that evening he removed his shoe & socks to scratch, thats when I realized his ankles were swollen one way more than the other. I asked him if he might have hurt himself but his repeated answer is no. Plus there's absolutely no pain at all; he can walk, run, jump everything. After a bath I thought it was looking better, but by morning the swelling was worse, now with a rash. We took him in to the ER (the docs. office was closed). The Docs at Loyola seemed puzzled, all labs & x-rays looked good. Later an Infectious Disease Doctor came in & has ordered additional Lab work, unfortunately those tests take several days to come back. over 5 days later the swelling comes over half way up his leg the good news is yesterday the swelling was not as tight so the itching isn't so bad and the rash is gone.
Ivan has no allergies, no insect bites & no clue why this is happening.

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R.

answers from Indianapolis on

M., first off, be thankful that you have a good medical facility that is paying attention to what is going on. Second, I had something similiar when I was younger (much much younger) Both my ankles swelled up, I had no pain, no injuries or bites and doctors were puzzled also. Finally a specialist ran some more test to find out that I had juvenile arthritis. Apparently, not everyone suffers from pain with juvenile arthritis. However it was still unpleasant to deal with. But through education and a better diet I am arthritis free. I was able to play sports and do all normal things growing up.
I do hope it is something simple like that for your 5 year old. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
And Congrats on your soon to be new arrival!

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

I was having a problem with my ankles swelling due to my lymph system going sluggish. If caught early, it can easily be remedied with reflexology. If not, it usually takes some medical intervention (because the swelling can get SO bad that you cannot move the legs...at least that is what happened to me). Maybe take him to see a reflexologist/chiropractor just for some more insight/opinions.

In my case, I was put on all kinds of steroids, etc the first time this happened to me because the docs couldn't tell me what it was (I, too, had every test imaginable run and everything came back negative). It had gotten so bad that both of my legs were swollen to the point of my skin looking like glass and not being able to bend my knees. I finally went to a chiropractor who specialized in reflexology/accupuncture/accupressure and he started "lymph" brushing (stimulating the lymph system) and gave me all kinds of accupressure/reflexology methods to get the lymph system going again.

The first time took quite a while to alleviate, but it worked. The second time it happened, I caught it right away and did everything from before and while I had some swelling, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as before.

I would suggest in the meantime to elevate his feet as much as possible...at least for a couple hours a day. Vigorous chest and back massages. That's the start of it. If you need some referrals for some good chiropractors who may be able to help (at least give you some opinions/options) please let me know.

Hope your son is feeling better soon!! Please keep me updated!!

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Please consider allergies to your laundry soap. (It doesn't hurt to try and if it solves the problem you know what it is) Switch your laundry soap to something like Arm and Hammer liquid, no scent or dyes. Rinse the clothes that he has thoroughly to get the residue from your old soap out. Switch your bath soap to liquid Dove for sensitive skin. Use Suave sampoo, basic formula.
While you are waiting for the results for the test it will give you something to do and get you doing something that will give you possitive results if it IS an allergic reaction.
=)

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

Check with your peds doc. It could be Lyme disease.

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K.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

I do not know if the docs considered HSP. My son, who is now 13, had it when he was 6. The full name for it is Henoch-Schonlein Purpura. It can occur after the onset of a respiratory cold or infection. My son's ankles started to swell then the swelling moved up to his legs. He had a rash from the bottom down. It can lead to internal issues if not treated. Can't hurt to consider and/or ask. The ER's only see about 1 case every 2 years (only happens in children) and pediatricians see about 1 case every 6 months. When we were in the hospital just about every nurse, resident and doctor came to take a look since it is rarely seen.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry I don't have anything specific to add. But I would reccomend you contact your pediatrician's office and follow up with a visit to them. Maybe they can get the test results faster, or do additional ones. Good luck! I hope your son is better soon.

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I don't want to scare you, but my brother in law has been in the hospital for 2 months with a staph infection. He went into the hospital with what they thought was kidney failure and his leg started swelling up REALLY big. He just recently got a rash and they finally realized what it was. Definately keep on the doctors about this!

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A.G.

answers from Chicago on

PLEASE ASK ABOUT AN ALLERGIC CONDITON CALLED ANGIOEDEMA!! I have this condition and it took me until I was 32 to be properly diagnosed. It is closely related to hives, accept it affects the deeper tissues in the body, it can be inherited or aquired. It really is nothing to serious as long as it does not affect the the mouth, throat, tongue or lungs. It only becomes itchy when the skin becomes very swollen, right now my hands are affectd. Anyhow, that being said, if it is this he should have an epi-pen with him at all times in case he gores into anaphylaxis. I don't mean to frighten you, it's just that as a child and young adult I would have these attacks that would be uncomforatable, to needing to be hospitalized because my tongue would swell up so big I could not breathe and for years doctors were like we don't know what this is, maybe it's this, maybe ut's that, etc. Also, for right now keep some Benedryl for kids on hand in case he starts to get a rash or hives with these swellings. If I can answer any other ?'s please let me know. THis kind of thing started happening tom when I was probably your son's age in addition to hives and rashes. Be persistent as well with the dcotors...try an allergist or immunoligist if you do not find the answers you need. This condiotn does not show up up in blood work unless specific tests for specific compliments are done, and even then, if it is not inherited, it still will not show up in blood work, it just means that your body hyper respponds to certain stimuli and realeases histamine into the body causeing soft tissue swelling. This website has some good basic information http://www.hereditaryangioedema.com/. Good luck, and I am susure he will be okay.

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N.D.

answers from Lafayette on

Do you have a cat or has your little boy been around a cat recently? If so he may have been scratched by the cat and have Cat Scratch Syndrone. I had a child that I babysat for that his glands around the nape of his neck swelled, and that is what he had. It's cureable with antibotics. My daughter had the gland in her leg swell when she had it. Hope this helps.

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

M.-

I know you said there wasn't an insect bite, but a similar thing happened to me after I got bit by a spider. It took two trips to the ER to figure it out, but the itching eventually went away. I did not have very much swelling, but everyone reacts differently. FYI...the doctors never found the location of the bite.

M.

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N.D.

answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry to hear this. I can only imagine how worried you must be but I applaud your courage for taking matters into your own hands. Contacting Mamasource for some possible solutions is a great first step but doing research on the Internet and asking questions of anyone and everyone is a must. While your son's symptoms is probably nothing, his symptoms could indicate that something very serious like bacterial meningitis or heart failure is the cause. A website that I use quite often is www.wrongdiagnosis.com. You can type in both swollen ankles and ankle itching/ rash. It will cross reference symptoms for both and come up with possible causes. Whatever you do, don't let the internet cause you to worry more but allow it to give you the information you need to ask educated questions at the Doctor's office/ hospital and to suggest potential causes that *you* would like ruled out. You are his Mom and his best advocate.

Best wishes.
N.

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