Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Swelling

Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Swelling

Foot and Ankle Swelling is a prevalent problem and not an issue of concern. There can be different causes for the swelling. However, the typical ones are excessive work, surgery, or pregnancy.

Swelling usually occurs when excess fluid is accumulated in the tissues, resulting in puffiness. Swelling is generally a short-term problem, but it does become a problem to function in the day to day activities.

There are different solutions available to treat foot and ankle swelling. As a treatment to swelling, painkillers are the most commonly prescribed Pain killers to get relief. Some people also prefer using an anti-inflammatory gel, to treat the pain and swelling.

Sometimes, swelling for a more extended period can indicate more significant health problems. In such a case, make sure to consult your physician.

Causes of Foot & Ankle Swelling

Causes of Foot and Ankle Swelling can be many. Injury, infection, venous insufficiency, blood clotting, etc. Let’s delve into them one by one.


The most common among causes for foot and ankle swelling is the ankle sprain which happens due to some injury. The ligaments are compromised leading to the swelling of the skin.

Swelling can be reduced by putting less pressure on the swelled ankle. You can also apply ice packs. If the swelling pains much and you do not wish to take analgesics, you can use an anti-inflammatory gel. Also, make sure to keep the ankle well rested for the swelling to be reduced.


Doctors use the term Edema for swelling. Edema can develop in any part of the body. When your leg, feet, or ankle swell, it is known as Peripheral Edema. When the lymphatic fluid blocks in the tissue instead of going through the vein and capillaries, the body part can swell and create difficulty in walking.

Many people counter this problem right after undergoing surgery. It is often suggested to lessen the salt intake to maintain the balance in the body.

Excessive Alcohol:

Most people do not consider alcohol to be a cause for the swelling. But it can very much contribute to the problem. When you drink, your body retains more water.

The swelling, in most cases, subsides soon. However, if the swelling becomes a common occurrence, make sure to consult a doctor. The persistent swelling can be a reason for some other problem.

Infection or Cellulitis:

Different bacteria live on the skin. When the skin breaks, bacteria like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, or other bacteria can enter the surface and infect the skin. This is known as Cellulitis. The initial symptoms might include fever, redness of the skin, sweating, or muscle pain. The treatment involves proper rest and analgesics.


Foot and ankle swelling is common from fifth month onwards during pregnancy. As your body is producing extensive blood and body fluids and retaining more and more water. Being all day on your feet doesn’t help either. The best way to deal with the swelling during pregnancy is by cutting on salt intake and increasing water consumption.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency:

Usually, the veins in the body keep the blood travelling upward through the valves. In a case, where these valves become weak or damaged, the fluid flows into the lower tissues thereby resulting in the foot and ankle swelling.

This can happen due to being on your legs or sitting for stretched periods. The prevalent symptoms include itchy skin, contracting infections time and again,

The sooner Venous Insufficiency is diagnosed, the better it can be treated. Controlling weight, exercising regularly, taking proper rest, and avoiding stretched periods of sitting and standing can help. Other treatments include using antibiotic creams and following a healthy skin hygiene routine.


Weather conditions can also affect the health of a person. N summers, swelling is a typical problem as veins expand to cool the body. During this, the fluid travel into tissues but sometimes vein fail to bring these fluids back to their predetermined location, heart. This results in the swelling.

Leg exercises and drinking water can help treat this condition.

Blood Clot:

Blood clots can be formed in the veins travelling to your legs making lumps of blood. This stops the fluid from moving up to your heart. This results in the foot and ankle swelling.

Blood thinners, avoiding stretched periods of sitting, exercising regularly, among other healthy lifestyle changes are considered to be the treatment for the swelling.

Kidney and Liver Diseases:

Kidney and Liver diseases can cause swelling of the feet and ankle.

When one has kidney disease, the salt component is higher in the body. Higher salt present in the body results in retaining more water. Liver disease also causes more water retention. This creates the lower region, mainly the ankle and feet to swell.

Treatment includes controlling high blood pressure, giving a low-protein diet, taking anaemia medicine, etc.

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