Swollen ankles: What are the usual causes?

14 September 2017
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14 September 2017, Comments: 0

Swollen ankles or edema has a variety of causes. These causes range from minor to evident underlying health issues. A doctor should be consulted for an accurate diagnosis if the swelling occurs.


Injury is one of the usual causes of swollen ankles. Sustaining trauma to the ankle joints, supporting structures or neighboring tissues can trigger swelling due to fluid buildup brought about by inflammation.

It is important to note that the swelling is often escorted by discomfort, bruising and reduced range of motion.

Extended positioning


Arthritis can also affect the ankle and trigger swelling.

Sitting or standing for extended periods of time can lead to swollen ankles since gravity causes the fluid to buildup in the lower extremities. Individuals who have varicose veins or being overweight are susceptible to end up with swollen ankles with lengthy positioning. This is due to the reduced ability of the leg veins to drive fluid back to the heart.


Certain medications can cause swollen ankles. The swelling is likely to occur among individuals who use calcium channel blockers which are used to control the blood pressure and manage heart disease.

Steroids as well as other hormones including estrogen for hormone replacement therapy or birth control as well as some variants of antidepressants such as MAO inhibitors or tricyclics can also trigger swelling of the ankle.

Medical conditions

Conditions such as congestive heart failure can cause the fluid to buildup in the lower extremities and other body parts. The usual indication of heart failure is swollen ankles. The condition is due to the poor pumping action of the heart.

Arthritis can also affect the ankle and trigger swelling. The inflammation results to stiffness, pain and swelling that are the main symptoms. The swelling of the ankles due to arthritis is often due to repeated trauma or previous fractures.


Pregnancy often triggers swollen ankles. Once the uterus grows, it places pressure on the pelvic organs and blood vessels which disrupts with the normal flow of fluids to the heart.

The abrupt swelling in the joint might be an indication of preeclampsia. This is a dangerous condition that triggers symptoms of high blood pressure, abrupt weight gain, headache and blurry vision. Remember that this is a life-threatening condition that necessitates medical attention.

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