Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Swelling of the Ankles and Feet Symptoms and Causes

Swelling of the feet and ankles can occur as a result of conditions involving the local extremities as well as diseases and conditions that affect the entire body. Examples of causes of swelling of only one ankle or foot are sprains and strains. Sometimes diseases that affect the entire body, such as heart disease and kidney or liver failure, can result in excess fluid buildup (edema) that is often concentrated in the legs and feet, leading to swelling not only of the ankles but also of the feet and lower legs. This can also occur with pregnancy.

Quick GuideBurning or Swollen Feet? What Foot Pain Says About Your Health

Burning or Swollen Feet? What Foot Pain Says About Your Health

Swollen ankles and swollen feet facts

Swelling of the ankle and feet is relatively frequent symptom in most people. In itself it does not represent a disease but rather the symptom of an underlying disease.

  • Causes of swollen ankles and feet are numerous including:
  • Most people who spend time standing or sitting and those people with causes listed above are at risk for feet and ankle swelling.
  • Swelling symptoms depend on the underlying cause so symptoms may range from a painless increase in foot and ankle diameter (size) to skin changes of color, texture changes that may be localized to one or both or ankles; other symptoms may include warm skin and ulceration with pus drainage
  • Almost all feet and ankle swelling is diagnosed by clinical observation and physical examination; tests are ordered to diagnose underlying causes
  • Treatment of swollen feet and ankles is dependent on diagnosing the underlying cause(s); some people require no treatment while others with underlying cause(s) may require several different treatments.
  • Complications vary according to the underlying disease process and vary from no complications to skin ulcerations that can lead to infection and death
  • Swollen ankles and swollen feet may be prevented in many people by simple methods, but in some individuals, reduction or prevention is dependent on more complex methods depending on the underlying cause(s). Continue Reading
Reviewed on 7/15/2015
References
REFERENCES:

American Pregnancy Association. Swelling During Pregnancy. April 1, 2014

Dumitru, I., et al. Heart Failure. Medscape. April 22, 2015

IMAGES:

1. Getty Images

2. iStock

3. Steven Pomberg/WebMD

4. Getty Images

5. Getty Images

6. Anna Web/WebMD

7. Getty Images

8. iStock

9. Getty Images

10. iStock

11. iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Swollen Ankles and Feet - Experience

    Please share your experience with swollen ankles and/or swollen feet.

    Post View 10 Comments
  • Swollen Ankles and Feet - Causes

    What caused your ankles and/or feet to swell?

    Post View 5 Comments
  • Swollen Ankles and Feet - Symptoms

    What symptoms did you experience with swollen ankles and/or feet?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Swollen Ankles and Feet - Treatment

    What treatments were effective in treating your swollen ankles and/or feet?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet - Home Remedies

    What home remedies were effective in treating your swollen ankles and/or feet?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors