Causes of ankle swelling and how to remedy it

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Ankle swelling is a problem that usually appears with age, either due to fluid accumulation or poor circulation. It is usually enhanced during the arrival of summer and high temperatures. In addition, some people stop doing physical activity and spend more time sitting as they get older.

There may be many reasons why this swelling occurs, especially in senior citizens. The best thing to do is to try to find the source of the problem in order to treat it properly.


Swelling can occur in either or both ankles. It is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the soft tissues or in the ankle joint.

It is fundamental to go to the doctor. As well as to keep a follow-up so that the specialist is aware in case it worsens.

Some of the causes in which the feet can suffer swelling are:

Edema: the most common cause in older people.

Poor circulation: vascular alterations.

Medications: some can generate side effects such as fluid retention and thus cause this swelling.

Sedentary lifestyle: if you do not exercise or spend a lot of time standing still, the muscle pump is not activated.

Poor diet: excess consumption of salt, saturated fats or lack of protein can cause swelling. In addition, suffering from constipation is also detrimental.

High temperatures: hot weather, especially in summer, causes the veins to expand to cool the body.

Kidney failure: causes symptoms such as swollen ankles.

Being overweight: in addition to the feet, it affects our body.

Injuries: the most common when you suffer an injury especially in the feet.

How to reduce ankle swelling

Getting some physical activity and maintaining a good diet are essential guidelines for good blood circulation and reducing fluid retention.

Some examples to reduce swelling in the ankles are:

Put on the ankle a bag with ice for a few minutes and wrapped in a cloth, this will help soothe the swelling and relieve if you feel any pain.

Place your feet in a bowl with cold water and some ice cubes.

Immerse the feet in warm water and then place them on ice.

When sitting, wiggle your ankles and toes.

Wear support stockings.

Lie down and raise your legs.

Sleep with your feet on a cushion.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Move around as little as possible and avoid sitting for long periods of time.

Avoid direct heat on the legs and feet.

Hydrate, drink plenty of water.

Massage your feet at the end of the day.

Ankle swelling due to injury

If older adults suffer an ankle injury it is common for the ankle to swell, some of the injuries can be either a broken or sprained ankle, a fall, etc.

In the event that the person suffers an injury the ideal is that the doctor treats it with the appropriate guidelines and treatment to follow depending on the severity.

The injury is produced if the senior citizen bends the ankle or supports it badly, which leads to the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that help the bones of the ankle to be united.

If the injury is serious, the specialist may want to perform a series of tests such as:

X-ray: used to rule out a broken bone.

Ultrasound: the images help to be able to evaluate the state of the ligament.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): internal images of the ankle.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: more detailed view of the bones.

Main symptoms of swollen ankles in senior citizens

Early detection of swollen ankles is the main factor in preventing complications from arising.

In addition to suffering from swelling, other symptoms may arise, some of the most common of which are: feeling heaviness in the legs; tiredness and difficulty walking; reddened skin and tingling or cramps.

It is vitally important to maintain healthy habits, as it will help both to prevent swelling of the ankles and to alleviate the effects caused by the swelling itself. However, it is also essential, before carrying out any treatment, to consult with the specialist to assess the type of severity suffered and, at his discretion, prescribe the appropriate procedure.