Swollen ankles can be a cause for concern, especially if the ankles have been swollen for an extended period of time. However, most people who suffer from swollen ankles or feet have little to worry about. While swollen ankles and feet are fairly common, if you suffer from this condition, it is best you make an appointment with your orthopedic physician to rule out any serious health problems.  Often swollen ankles are not painful but may be very uncomfortable. However, the pain is dependent on how and why the ankles are swollen. Below are some of the most common reasons:

Acute Ankle Injury

Twisting or spraining an ankle is a very common cause for swelling. In the case of ankle sprain, depending on the grade of ankle sprain, (there are 3 grades of ankle sprain – 3 being the worst) the swelling is usually accompanied by pain or extreme discomfort. It’s common for athletes or people who exercise to tweak their ankle during physical activity. Usually a misstep or jumping and landing on an uneven surface causes the ankle sprain, and the swelling will typically occur within a 48 hour period.


It’s common for women to have some swelling in their feet or ankles during pregnancy, but excessive swelling may be due to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a medical condition that may occur any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and occurs as a result of high blood pressure and abnormal amounts of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can lead to other serious health problems if left untreated.


Swelling that happens as a result of excess fluid is called edema. Sometimes the elderly may suffer from this type of ankle swelling.  The swelling may be aggravated by standing or walking for too long, being overweight or just a long ride in a car.

What To Do If You Have Ankle Swelling

There are many other possible reasons for ankle swelling including other health conditions like blood clots, infections or medications. If you are suffering from swelling in your foot or ankle, it is best to see a physician as soon as possible. In most cases, the swelling is harmless, but unfortunately ankle swelling may be an indication of a more serious health condition. The safest thing to do if you have any swelling is to see an orthopedic physician and get a proper diagnosis. Contact an IBJI physician today for expert care.