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Ankle swelling

A sign of fluid buildup or inflammation of joint and tissue, ankle swelling is also called ankle edema. It can also result from serious infections, trauma or circulatory disorders, cardiac disorders or any other abnormal processes. Mild ankle swelling is common after standing for a long period of time. Painless swelling of the ankles is a common problem among older people. Swollen ankles may indicate potentially serious disorders such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis and liver failure. Ankle swelling could also occur during pregnancy, being overweight or vascular problems or some orthopedic conditions such as bone fracture or a sprained ankle.


Swelling can also be caused by injury involving surgery in ankle. Long car rides and flight travel can lead to ankle edema. Many women notice ankle edema during pregnancy. It is complicated by Preeclampsia, a serious condition that includes high blood pressure and swelling. Certain medications, like antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and hormones like estrogen and testosterone and steroids can cause swelling. Ankle swelling is common in those who are overweight, suffer blood clots in the leg or those who suffer leg infections.


Swollen legs are also often a sign of failure of heart, kidney and liver. This is an indication of too much fluid in the body. Gout is caused by accumulation of uric acid crystals within the fluid of the ankle. Those suffering from gout exhibit abnormal accumulation of uric acid within joints leading to inflammation and resultant swelling. Ankle arthritis is another degenerative change is the joint, though less common, which can be quite painful and could cause swelling. Blood clot, known as DVT, is a common vascular obstruction of blood flow which can cause swelling around the ankles and can also extend further up to the legs.


Since swollen ankles could be due to serious diseases and injuries, seek treatment without delay. Treatment depends upon the analysis of the underlying disease condition and its diagnosis.

  • Keep ankle lifted so that the leg falls on a straight line. An ice pack or ice in a plastic bag can be wrapped in a clean dish bowl and kept on the raised ankle.
  • Reduce intake of salt.
  • Cut down on processed food especially fast foods that overflow with salt.
  • To soothe tendinitis, sprains, strains and aches, alternate hot and cold vinegar wraps can do good.
  • Drink plenty of water as it moves through kidneys, bladder, diluting the urine and since urine has some fluid-retaining salt in it, the more it is diluted, the easier it is to remove salt and prevent edema.
  • Exercise such as as walking or swimming regularly helps.
  • Support stockings which are sold at most drug and medical supply stores can be worn.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing or garters around thighs.
  • Lose weight if need to.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2019