Swollen ankles – general causes and treatments
Do your ankles feel heavy and bloated? Is it so uncomfortable that you can’t move as well as before
The key to effectively treating swollen ankles is understanding why they are swollen in the first place. There may be several commonplace reasons why your ankles are swollen, ranging from simply having been on your feet all day, to air travel, a long period of immobility to excessive heat. Swelling happens when your body retains fluid in the lower legs, ankles and feet (oedema). A simple and easy remedy is to sit and prop your legs up to help decrease swelling.
However, there may be other reasons for a swollen ankle that may need alternative treatment.
Below are a few causes and treatments for you to consider:
- Bruising and swelling invariably follows a foot or ankle injury. This can be simply treated by resting with the foot elevated. A compression bandage or an ice pack applied to the area can also help to reduce swelling. If you use ice, be sure to have cloth between your skin and the ice pack as it may result in damage to your skin. Ice should be applied to the swelling in bursts of 20-minute intervals and be careful you don’t fall asleep as this may result in leaving the ice on the skin for too long. Seek medical advice if the selling does not go down or symptoms become worse.
- An infection, typically as a result of a bite or cut, may result in swelling. Diabetics have a higher chance of infection as the pain sensation in their nerves is reduced when they have an injury. A slow diagnosis of the wound may also result in infection. If you suspect you have an infection then medical advice should be sought.
- Lymphoedemia, which is the accumulation of lymphatic fluid, may occur if the lymphatic system is compromised by a blockage, or if lymph nodes have been removed, resulting in fluid not being able to drain away. This poor circulation may manifest itself in swelling of the limbs and feet. Exercises can help to reduce this.
- If blood cannot circulate freely around the body and is restricted in any way, this may reduce in pooling. This can occur with someone who has varicose veins. Swelling may then result in the feet and ankles. Swollen ankles are often seen in older people who sit with their legs down for long periods of time.
- Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the leg can be painful and often result in swelling in the calf. However, a DVT can be difficult to identify as symptoms can be diverse but it is a very serious condition and can be life threatening. Immobility, smoking, dehydration, infection and use of some medications can all result in developing a DVT.
- If swollen ankles are combined with tiredness or breathlessness while exercising, lying down or waking struggling to breathe then you should seek medical advice as this could be a result of a kidney or heart condition. Tests should be undertaken to exclude any such condition.
- Certain medicines may also lead to an accumulation of fluid as they can affect the normal function of the kidneys. These can be medication taken to lower blood pressure such as calcium channel blockers and steroids. If you are taking these medicines and you have resulting ankle swelling then you must refer to your doctor.
What to do next?
As ankle pain and swelling may be the result of many conditions we would recommend you get advice from your GP. Scans, blood tests and x-rays are all things that can be carried out to help with an assessment.
You may also be advised to exercise, lose weight, undertake physiotherapy or be prescribed medication.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own - about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example - you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have - whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, every day. Please get in touch now.
Click below to submit your question online.
AXA PPP healthcare
Latest posts by AXA PPP healthcare (see all)
- Too old for the couch to 5k challenge? Not likely! - September 12, 2019
- What are the signs of stress? Learn how to listen to your body - September 1, 2019
- We’re told we should exercise more but how do we go about this? - August 16, 2019
- Arthritis myths debunked - August 10, 2019
- Tired all the time? You could have a folate deficiency - July 27, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!