Swollen Ankles – Causes, Symptoms, Pictures and Treatment

Are you suffering from an inflammation in the ankles? Chances are that you may be having Swollen Ankle, a common condition that is seen in many men and women every year.

What are Swollen Ankles?

ankle pictures
Picture 1 – Ankle Structure
Source – sportsgeezer

As the name suggests, Swollen Ankles is a medical syndrome characterized by inflammation in the lower legs, especially the ankles. This disorder may affect ankle of one or both legs. In some situations, the calves and also the thighs may suffer a swelling.

The condition can appear in young and old alike. You can find swollen ankles in men as well as women. It may arise with a number of other health problems. It can also occur due to several physical complications and situational stress.

Swollen Ankles Symptoms

Swollen Ankles arise with a number of other symptoms like :


The ankles and lower leg region swell up in patients with this syndrome. It is the most visible symptom in people with this disorder.

Deteriorating Swelling

The ankles generally swell up sometime after the patient wakes up in the morning. The inflammation becomes worse as the day progresses.


In some cases, small pits are formed on the skin surface of the ankle. This is formed if the person having inflamed ankles suffers from edema, a condition marked by fluid retention in the body tissues and cells and serous cavities. Long term fluid retention in the ankles causes formation of pits on the skin. In Swollen Ankles fluid retention is the major underlying cause.


Pressing the swollen skin area for a few seconds will show indentation.


If the swelling occurs due to strains or sprains in the ankle, sufferers may experience pain in the inflamed region. Painful Swollen Ankles can cause foot pain in sufferers.

Causes of Swollen Ankles

swollen ankles picture
Picture 2 – Swollen Ankle Photo
Source – lifesciencefacts

What causes Swollen Ankles and feet? Swollen Ankles causes may include :

Heart Disease

In many patients with swollen ankles heart disease is found to be a cause. Swelling in the ankles can be an indicator of heart ailments.

Liver Disease

In a few cases of Swollen Ankles liver disease may be the underlying cause. Ankle swelling can be a symptom of liver ailments.


Drugs, such as calcium channel blocker, that are used for curing high blood pressure can lead to side effects that include inflamed ankles. In patients with swollen ankles high blood pressure is often seen as a causative agent. Steroids and Antidepressants are also seen as causes of Swollen Ankles. These medicines widen the small blood vessels resulting in leakage of fluids from vessels to the tissues. The fluid gets collected around the ankles and cause inflammation. It is also a major cause of swollen ankles.

Kidney Failure

If the kidney ceases to function, it can immediately lead to a fluid build-up in the body. This can cause immediate inflammation of legs.

High Salt Intake

Eating foods that contain high salt content leads to high water retention. This is also one of the major Swollen Ankle causes.


Swollen Ankles during pregnancy is quite common. Mild Swollen Ankles in pregnancy is normal as body fluids increase during maternity for the upkeep of both mother and child.

Pre Menstrual Tension (PMT)

Pre Menstrual Tension causes hormonal and other physical changes in the body. It leads to many symptoms in women including ankle swelling.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy leads to retention of excess quantity of fluids in the body. People undergoing HRT often have inflamed ankles because of this.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral Contraceptive medicines give rise to side effects like ankle swelling due to the presence of high estrogen in them.


Phlebitis is a condition characterized by an inflammation in the vein of the legs. This is also seen as a Swollen Ankles cause.


Allergenic reactions in the body can also be a reason behind ankle swelling in patients. Food allergy is another cause behind this syndrome.

Drug Abuse

Drug usage may also be a reason behind this condition. Use of medicines like diuretics and laxatives is often seen to cause Swollen Ankles.

Varicose Veins

This condition, marked by swollen veins, is held as one of the prime reasons behind this disease.


Increased body fat can also trigger this syndrome. Obese people are highly susceptible to this condition.


Ankle Arthritis is often seen as a cause of this disorder. People suffering from traumatic ankle injury or rheumatoid arthritis are at great risk from this syndrome. Arthritis is a common reason for the appearance of swollen ankles in elderly people.

Ankle Injury

The condition can also appear if a person sprains or strains his or her ankle.

Tight Socks

In some cases, wearing tight socks and stockings constrict the veins of the legs and feet. This causes swollen feet and ankles in many patients.

Standing or Sitting

The disease also affects people who stand or sit for long periods of time. Swollen Ankles from standing is very common.

Swollen Ankles Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the disorder depends on the condition that the physician suspects in the patient. If the physician suspects a swelling in the ankle because of an injury, he or she may advise getting an X-ray done. The patient is asked about his lifestyle, dietary habits and any recent illnesses. The medical history of the patient is also taken into account for an effective treatment.

Treatment for Swollen Ankles

How to treat a Swollen Ankle? The cure for Swollen Ankles normally includes treating the condition that actually caused it. A general physician usually prescribes a diuretic for Swollen Ankles treatment. A diuretic helps the kidneys flush out the extra fluid that are contained within the ankle tissues. Doctors also normally advise several lifestyle modifications for Swollen Ankle treatment. These include

Avoiding Salty Foods

High salt intake can cause swollen ankles. If you are suffering from ankle swelling, it is better to avoid or limit intake of foods that have high salt content.

Change in Medications

If drugs are responsible for this disorder, it is best to stop the medication. In some cases, doctors may prescribe some other medicine as an alternative.

Swollen Ankles Remedies at Home

swollen ankle treatment
Picture 3 – Swollen Ankle Treatment Tips
Source – stjohnprovidence

If you want to treat the disorder at home, you can try out these Swollen Ankles natural remedies:


Elevating the ankle above the other body parts can be a good idea. You can do this while resting. This will help the fluids to retreat back into the upper parts of the body.

Wearing light Stockings

Wearing loose fitting socks and stockings ensure smooth flow of bloods and fluids in the legs. If you feel wearing tight stockings have been the cause of your swollen ankles and legs, a lighter option might definitely help you. You should also ideally wear loose shoes for swollen feet and ankles.


Wrap your affected ankle with a towel. Apply ice over this. This is often found to be an effective way to reduce inflammation in patients.


Applying heat over the inflamed ankle can also reduce the swelling. You can use a heating pad while taking rest.


Place a cucumber slice on your foot. Cover this with a bandage or cotton cloth. This will ensure fluid absorption and a faster recovery.

Lecithin seeds

Having 3-4 tablespoon of lecithin seeds daily for about 3 months is very effective to treat this syndrome. It is found to be an effective Swollen Ankles cure.


If obesity is the reason for swollen ankles exercise can bring down the weight and cure the condition.

Swollen Ankles Pictures

If you are suffering from swollen ankles and not sure if you are really having this condition, you can check out these Swollen Ankle photos. These pictures of Swollen Ankles will help you know how the disease looks like.

swollen ankle pictureswollen ankle picture
Picture 4 – Swollen Ankle                   Picture 5 – Photo of Swollen Ankle
Source – medhelp                                      Source – athletictapeinfo

If you are having swollen ankles, it is best to get it treated as soon as possible. As aforesaid, swelling in the ankles may be a symptom of complicated health conditions like heart disease, liver disease or kidney failure. Hence, timely medical treatment of this disease is highly necessary so that you can get back to health very soon.






Published on December 21st 2010 by  under Bones, Joints and Muscles.
Article was last reviewed on 21st December 2010.

3 responses to “Swollen Ankles – Causes, Symptoms, Pictures and Treatment”

  1. please send me any iformation as to why ankles swell all thwe times,and they usually feel like like they are on fire.i go every 3 days for an inr test but it shows low results intil im admitted into the hospital then they are fine for a few days then they go all off kilter again.is there anyone out there that comes close to my symptoms that could help me…im starting to get frustrated.

  2. right now my ankles and very swollen and feel likw they are on fire.the top part of ankle is all red with a pattern that looks likes a rash.i was discharged from the jhospital monday and as of turs nite they started swelling again.i neber use saly or cook with it …does anyone have any idea as to whay be going on or has the same thing going on??

  3. VIRGINIAH says:

    I have black small veins from my thighs downwards which keep forming under my skin. they look bad and i have to wear long skirts to cover my legs. please help me understand the cause and treatment.

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