Ankle swelling: Is it a serious problem?

Ankle swelling: Is it a serious problem?

Ankle swelling is a common condition characterized by swelling of the ankle joint caused by fluid accumulation around the tissues of the feet and ankle as a result of many causes, such as trauma, which leads to difficulty walking.

Ankle swelling may result from some diseases, such as heart failure and kidney failure, which calls for concern and the need to treat the cause of the swelling. So what is ankle swelling? Is it a serious problem?

What is ankle swelling?

Ankle Swelling is swelling and swelling in the ankle area due to the accumulation of fluid around the soft tissue, which leads to difficulty walking, and the patient may feel pain depending on the cause of the swelling.

عادة تكون التورمات شائعة في الكاحل بسبب تأثير الجاذبية على السوائل في جسم الإنسان، لكنه ليس السبب الوحيد لحدوث التورم في الكاحل فقد يحدث بسبب الأذية والالتهاب، وقد تنجم تورمات الكاحل عن حالات مرضية خطيرة، خاصة عند ترافقها مع أعراض أخرى مثل الألم الصدري وصعوبة التنفس والدوار والتشوش الذهني.

The difference between a normal foot and a swollen foot (it is swollen and shiny)
The difference between a normal foot and a swollen foot

Causes of ankle swelling

It is happening Ankle swelling Due to the accumulation of fluid in the feet and ankles, called edema, edema occurs due to:

  • Standing or sitting in the same position for a long time
  • Obesity: Excess weight can put additional pressure on the veins in the legs, hindering blood flow
  • Trauma: An injury such as a sprained ankle joint and...Ankle fractures To his swelling
  • الالتهابات: قد تسبب الالتهابات مثل Foot arthritis والكاحل أو الأوتار أو الأجربة إلى حدوث انتفاخ الكاحل
  • Medications: such as antidepressants (tricyclic), antihypertensive medications from the calcium channel blocker category, birth control pills (due to hormones), and steroids.
  • Vascular disorders: Vascular diseases can cause difficulty with blood flow, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Heart problems: Some heart diseases can cause edema in the lower extremities, especially the ankles, such as heart failure
  • Liver and kidney disease: Liver and kidney disease can cause an imbalance in body fluids (excretion), leading to fluid accumulation in the lower extremities.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and pressure on the veins during pregnancy may cause swollen ankles
  • Postoperatively: Swelling of the ankles is common postoperatively due to inflammation in the early stages of healing
  • Lymphedema: occurs due to the absence or damage of lymphatic vessels, which leads to the accumulation of lymph and the occurrence of infections.
  • Hot weather: Ankle swelling increases in the summer due to the expansion of the veins to cool the body, which causes fluids to emerge and accumulate
Swelling, inflammation and bruising as a result of ankle sprains and ligament damage
Sprained ankle

Read more about: Ankle sprain treatment

Symptoms of ankle swelling

Symptoms include:

  • Ankle swelling due to fluid accumulation
  • The skin is shiny and stretchy
  • Changes in skin color
  • A feeling of hardness when pressing on the skin where the swelling is
The ankle swells and the skin becomes shiny and stretched
Ankle swelling (top) and skin shiny and stretchy (bottom)

Treatment of swollen ankle

Swelling of the ankles and feet often goes away on its own (spontaneously), but when the swelling has a pathological cause, then the underlying disease leading to it must be treated. Ankle edema.

 Home treatment

Home treatment for ankle swelling includes the following measures:

  • Elevate your affected leg on a chair or pillows so that it is above the level of the heart
  • Wear compression stockings to prevent fluid accumulation in the joint
  • Do some light exercises, such as walking, to increase blood flow
  • Wear wide, comfortable shoes
  • Follow a low-salt diet to reduce fluid accumulation
  • Take breaks to stand and walk when traveling
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium, such as nuts and legumes

Treating the causative disease

Treatment for ankle swelling varies here depending on the causing disease:

  • Heart disease (heart failure): The patient takes medications such as beta blockers, angiotensin synthesis inhibitors (ACEI), and diuretics.
  • Vascular disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT): The patient is given blood thinners and wears compression stockings while maintaining activity and reducing salt.
  • Kidney diseases: The patient takes special medications for each disease along with a low-protein diet and supportive treatment with vitamin D and calcium
  • Liver diseases: Medications are prescribed along with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding drinking alcohol. In some severe cases, liver surgery can be resorted to.

Preventing ankle swelling

Swelling of the ankles and feet can be prevented by following the following tips:

  • Exercising regularly: It helps move excess fluids in the ankles and feet. You can start with light exercises such as walking or riding a bike for 15-30 minutes.
  • Drink enough water: Water helps get rid of sodium and other toxins that may cause swelling
  • Reduce salt intake: Salt intake leads to a high level of sodium in the body, which increases water retention and thus swelling
  • Swimming: Swimming helps stimulate blood circulation and puts pressure on the tissues of the legs, which increases blood flow

Ankle swelling is the accumulation of fluid, causing swelling in the ankle and feet, causing difficulty walking. Ankle swelling often heals on its own (spontaneously), but in some cases it may be caused by an underlying disease, and it is necessary to treat the disease until the swelling goes away.


  1. NHS
  2. verywellhealth
  3. Healthline

Common questions

Ankle swelling is usually a cause for concern caused by prolonged standing or sitting and obesity, but ankle swelling can be serious in some cases when it is caused by heart, liver, or kidney disease.

Ankle swelling is reduced when wearing compression stockings and raising the leg on a chair or pillows so that it is above the level of the heart.

Ankle swelling may occur suddenly due to bruises and injuries, such as an ankle sprain.

Ankle swelling can be treated by wearing compression stockings, raising the leg, doing light exercises, and reducing salt intake, in addition to the need to treat the disease causing the swelling.

Swelling of one foot occurs in traumatic injuries such as ankle sprains and fractures, in addition to some vascular diseases.

Make an appointment with Dr. Çetin Işık
In Istanbul

Make an appointment with Dr. Çetin Işık
In Istanbul