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6 Reasons Why You Experience Ankle Swelling (And How We Can Help)

Ankle swelling is a painful problem, and there’s many reasons why you develop this issue. Called edema, the swelling can make it painful to stand, walk or wear any of the shoe sin your closet.  It can be a temporary or chronic problem. And we can certainly help you find relief.

That was the case our patient Judy M, who recently shared, “When I first came to Dr. Walsh I was in terrible foot pain that was affecting my daily activities. I was tired of a swollen ankle and constant foot pain. Dr. Walsh performed a complete flat foot reconstruction which was an extensive surgery. Throughout my recovery, Dr. Walsh was wonderful-informative, responsive, encouraging and caring. She also educated/advised me on the right types of shoes to wear, Once recovered, I was able to return back to my normal activities. I highly recommend Dr Walsh! “

For Judy, the structure of her foot was the underlying reason why her ankle was always swollen. But each patient is unique, so it’s important to get a thorough exam in our office if you notice swelling. Because some of these other common causes of edema may be to blame.

What Causes Ankle Swelling?

Ankle swelling

Photo by Auskteez Tran on Unsplash

  1. All-day standing can cause a build-up of fluid in your legs and ankles. So if you’ve been on your feet for a while, you may notice ankle swelling. (It should go away once you get home, relax and put your feet up for a while.)
  2. An injury could also lead to edema in your ankles. With a sprain or fracture, swelling can accompany other symptoms such as pain, bruising, tenderness and difficulties bearing weight.
  3. If you develop a skin infection, ankle swelling may set in. You’ll likely notice redness and pain as well. And your skin may feel warm to the touch. Consider these signs to make an immediate appointment with our doctors. Especially if you have diabetes, since infections raise your risk for ulcers and amputation.
  4. Vein health issues can also lead to swelling in your lower legs and ankles. If this is the cause of your concern, you may also notice varicose veins or changes in your skin color. These symptoms suggest your lower limbs aren’t clearing out blood efficiently, or are seeing compromises in their blood supply. And this is why the condition is also known as venous insufficiency.
  5. When you’re pregnant, your body’s fluid volume increases, so you may notice ankle swelling. Coupled with the added pressure of your growing baby, this can become a painful problem. But resting with your feet propped up, as well as compression stockings, may help you manage ankle swelling during pregnancy.
  6. Your body’s very structure can contribute to ankle swelling, as was the case for our patient Judy. If you have very flat feet, every step you take tugs at your plantar fascia or Achilles tendon. Over time, this can lead to pain, inflammation and swelling. In some cases, we can reduce the pressure with custom orthotics. But for other patients, surgical intervention can offer more lasting relief.

Diagnosing and Treating Your Swollen Ankles in Spring TX

If your ankle swelling comes and goes, you may try some simple lifestyle changes to offer relief:


Add exercise.

If pooling fluids causes your ankle swelling, upping your movement can help reduce swelling. Plus, it may boost your circulatory system, which can keep edema from returning.

Cut the Salt

Too much sodium can make your body hold on to fluid. So if you’ve noticed frequent ankle swelling, especially after meals, try cutting out some salty foods from your diet.

Raise Your Glass

While it seems strange, drinking more water can help your body flush out the built-up fluids of edema. So you may relieve some ankle swelling bu upping your H2O intake.

Take a Break

Often, the best way to relieve temporary swelling is to sit down and prop up your feet. (Aim for above the height of your heart.) In this position, excess fluid can move out of your ankles. So swelling should go down if there aren’t other underlying problems contributing to the edema.

While these simple tricks are effective for some types of swelling, they won’t do much to relieve chronic problems. Instead, if your painful swollen ankles are a daily concern, make an immediate appointment with our Spring or Tomball TX podiatrists. We’ll offer a thorough exam to diagnose the root cause of your painful ankle swelling. Then, we can offer a targeted treatment plan to offer you fast and lasting relief!