What is ankle swelling?

Ankle swelling is a sign of fluid buildup or inflammation of the joint and tissues of the ankle. Mild ankle swelling is a common occurrence after standing for a long period.

Ankle swelling, which is also called edema, can also result from serious infections, trauma, circulatory disorders, cardiac (heart) disorders, and other abnormal processes.

One or both ankles may swell for a short time, such as after standing for a long time or sitting during a long airline flight. Ankle swelling can also be due to pregnancy, being overweight, vascular problems, or orthopedic conditions, such as a bone fracture or a sprained ankle.

Swollen ankles can also indicate a potentially serious disorder, such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, and liver failure. Because ankle swelling can indicate a potentially life-threatening illness, you should seek prompt medical care and talk with your medical professional about your symptoms. If you experience ankle swelling with chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, shortness of breath, or any difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical care (call 911).


What other symptoms might occur with ankle swelling?

Ankle swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, swelling accompanied by pain and tenderness may indicate a joint injury; whereas, swelling with shortness of breath may indicate a heart-related condition.

Symptoms that ... Read more about ankle swellingsymptoms


What causes ankle swelling?

Ankle swelling can be caused by relatively minor conditions, but can also be caused by a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that include infections, inflammation, trauma, heart disease, and other abnormal processes.

In some cases, ankle swelling is a symptom of a serious or life-threate... Read more about ankle swellingcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles, Heart Disease, Diabetes

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