Swollen ankles can be a temporary condition that is not necessarily cause for concern. Anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, tries a new exercise routine or has a particularly busy day can wind up with some swelling and discomfort in the ankles. If this swelling comes along with other side effects or it lasts for several days, this may be a sign that you may have another condition that might require a medical attention to help you get your ankles back to normal.
Why Are Your Ankles Swollen?
There are a wide range of causes that can lead to swollen ankles, including potential diseases, health condition, medications and injuries. The detailed information of these causes are listed following.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy can often lead to swelling in the hands and feet. As the body grows to accommodate your growing fetus, your legs may swell due to the impact of the weight gain. This is a normal condition that should not be cause for concern. However, if swelling in the ankles comes on suddenly or the swelling is excessive, you may be suffering from preeclampsia, a condition that occurs when excessive protein enters the blood stream. This condition occurs around the 20th week of pregnancy. Other symptoms of this condition include high blood pressure, abdominal pain, infrequent urination, nausea, vision changes or headaches.
- Lymphedema. Lymphedema in the legs can cause welling in the ankles and feet. Lymphedema means that the lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the legs are not functioning properly. This may be caused by a bacterial infection or blockage in the lymph nodes. Allowing this condition to go untreated can lead to an infection developing in the ankles or a deformity that can become cancerous.
- Infections. Other infections in the legs can also result in the ankles swelling. This is especially common in those who suffer from diabetes. Swelling due to infection can be paired with blisters or sores which can result in nerve damage in the feet if they go unchecked.
- Medications. Some medications including estrogen, testosterone, calcium channel blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diabetes medication or steroids can cause swelling in the ankles or other parts of the body. Some swelling due to medications can be temporary and will go away as your body becomes accustomed to your treatment. If your swelling becomes severe or does not go down, then you should see your doctor about whether or not you will require a change in your medication to stop the swelling.
- Venous insufficiency. A venous insufficiency can lead to swollen ankles and feet. This means that blood is not flowing efficiently from the legs to the heart because the upward valves has become damaged or are growing weaker, which allows the blood to flow back down the leg. Those suffering from venous insufficiency can also suffer from ulcers on the skin, skin changes or infections on the legs.
- Blood clots. Blood clots in the legs can cause the ankles to swell as blood pools in the veins near the skin in this area. In addition to swelling, this swelling can cause fever, low-grade pain or a change in color in the area where the blood is pooling. It is important to treat this condition quickly as clots can break loose and impact other areas and become dangerous if they are left unchecked.
- Foot and ankle injury. If you injure your foot or ankle, the ankle may begin to swell. This can be causes by pulling a ligament in the area or spraining your ankle. This type of swelling can be accompanied by tenderness and pain in the area or difficulty putting weight on the affected leg while moving. The severity of these side effects will depend on the nature and severity of the injury that has occurred.
- Getting old. Sometimes as people age their ankles and feet may begin to swell. This is usually due to the person carrying their posture differently than they once did or getting less exercise than they did previously. As long as this swelling is not interrupting circulation or your ability to move properly, it is no cause for concern.
- Prolonged immobility. When people sit without moving for long periods of time, such as during long car trips their ankles may swell temporarily. Temporary swelling is also common after riding on an air plane or receiving pelvic surgery. This swelling is not cause for concern and should reduce fairly quickly after the person returns to their normal activity level.
Remedy and Cure for Swollen Ankles
Getting rid of swollen feet and ankles can be achieved by both home remedies and medical treatments, depending on how severe the condition is. Given following are some tips for you to deal with this condition.
- Exercise the legs. Temporary swelling can be relieved by exercising the legs. Restoring normal blood flow to this area and getting the blood pumping at a more active rate can relieve much of the discomfort that is associated with this condition. If you are working or traveling in conditions that will require you to sit still for long periods of time, try to take frequent breaks and make a point of standing and moving around when these breaks occur to help promote quality circulation.
- Alter diet and clothing. Those who suffer from frequent swelling may need to lower their salt intake to help cut down on fluid retention. Raising the legs while in a lying position can also help prevent swelling during the day. Do not wear tight clothing on the legs that can restrict blood flow to the ankles and feet. Your doctor may also advise you to lose weight to relieve the pressure on the ankles that can cause swelling.
- Use devices to provide support. If you have swollen ankles and/or feet because you have suffered an injury, you may need to wrap the ankle or wear compression stockings until your body returns to normal. These devices should be tight enough to provide support but not so tight that they restrict blood flow. Apply ice packs to the area to help take down the swelling.
- Seek medical attention. If your swelling is accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, fever swelling in other areas of the body or if the swelling comes on suddenly, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.