Why Do Ankles Swell Up?

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
Why Do Ankles Swell Up?

Do your ankles frequently swell up? Do you know what might cause this condition? In the following OneHowTo article we reveal the most common causes of ankle swelling. It can result from many different conditions, from poor circulation, fluid retention, bad body posture to diseases or more serious illnesses, such as kidney, liver or heart failure. Read on to find out exactly why ankles swell up.

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Steps to follow:

Common causes of swollen ankles include sitting or standing for too long without moving your legs. When this happens, both the muscles and valves in that area are not relaxed, but contract instead, and the blood does not flow properly so fluid accumulates. This can result in a slight swelling of the ankles and feet. To avoid this, it is advisable to get up often and try to walk a little or spend 5 minutes doing some leg stretches.


Normal ankle swelling can also result from fluid retention, a condition that is much more common in women. It also causes symptoms such as cramps, heaviness, weakness and pain in the lower body. This condition can be caused by unhealthy lifestyles such as having a sedentary lifestyle or a diet high in fat and sodium, but also may be due to kidney, liver and heart conditions. It is so important seek medical assistance if you suspect that you are retaining fluid in certain areas of the body.

In the following OneHowTo article, we give you guidance to prevent fluid retention.

Why Do Ankles Swell Up? - Step 2

Overweight or older people are much more likely to suffer from swollen ankles, due to the fact that they suffer from circulatory problems. This is mainly because your heart does not have the power needed to pump blood, so the heart rate becomes faster, which can lead to higher blood pressure and an accumulation of blood in the ankles. These patients should look after their health, especially through a healthy, balanced diet together with treatments to improve blood circulation, as they could suffer from serious health problems otherwise.

Why Do Ankles Swell Up? - Step 3

When certain hormonal changes are produced in the body, this can also cause swelling of the ankles. This is very common in women who are menopausal or during some phases of the menstrual cycle. Likewise, swollen feet and ankles is a common condition in pregnant women. During the months of gestation, blood flow increases and can lead to blockage of some veins, causing inflammation. This is often compounded in the final stages of pregnancy due to an excessive build-up of fluid in the tissues. If you want to know how you can reduce this condition, we recommend you read the article on how to prevent fluid retention during pregnancy.

Why Do Ankles Swell Up? - Step 4

It has been suggested that consumption of certain medicines and pharmacological treatments is responsible for swelling of the ankles in some cases. These include antidepressant medications, medications to reduce blood pressure, steroids or birth control pills. If you are taking any medicine of this type and you suspect swollen ankles may be a side effect from it, you should talk to your doctor about modifying or adapting the treatment.

Why Do Ankles Swell Up? - Step 5

When you suffer from swollen ankles it is essential that you change your lifestyle and follow a daily routine that promotes health at all times. This mainly concerns the type of diet, hydration, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. To find out in more detail what you can do to combat this condition and reduce your discomfort, we invite you to read the following articles:

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do Ankles Swell Up?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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1 comment
Good information. My problem occurs between ankle and instep, causing ankle to swell 1/2 inch.
I have measured it...
Lol, that's funny, I measured my ankle too! I think my swelling may just be from sitting too much without moving around...? I've been to 2 different doctors, and I've had a venous ultrasound, and they have no explanation.
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