Swollen Ankles

Swollen or distended ankles and feet without any pain is a widespread trouble, especially among the aged people. This condition may occur owing to a variety of reasons, including kidney ailments, congestive heart failure, salt or hormonal imbalances, common gonorrhoea contagion, varicose veins, any injury, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), insect bites and stings as well as general sunburn or burn injuries.

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In addition to the factors discussed here, it is also possible such swollen ankles and feet may be caused by several medicines, counting the use of calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, chemotherapy agents, oral contraceptives, replacement of estrogen or testosterone and even by tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

Usually, ankles swell up or distend when fluid passes from the capillaries into the adjacent tissues and build-up there. When you compress a distended ankle, the accumulated fluid will go away from the affected area creating a deep impression that may remain for a few instants. The problem is not restricted to the ankles or the feet and may even affect the calves as well as the thighs.

Using herbal medications to treat swollen ankles or feet normally start working over an interlude of anything between three to six months. On the other hand, different treatments like support stockings produce results more quickly - taking something around just three to six weeks time. Once you receive the benefit of other treatments, they can be alleviated further by using herbal remedies.

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In case you are suffering from swollen or puffed up ankles with chest pain, difficulty in breathing, speaking problems, weight gain of above three kilograms or six pounds in just three days or even less, incapability to pass urine or an abnormally sluggish or rapid heartbeat, you should seek immediate medical help.

In case you have been in a standing position or walking for a prolonged period, swollen ankles and feet are quite frequent and ought not to be a major cause for concern. However, when your ankles or feet remain distended for prolonged periods and are accompanied by additional symptoms, it could be a hint of a major health trouble.

Hence, you need to be careful and adopt necessary precautions. Swollen ankles and feet may occur in some specific instances and a number of these are discussed briefly below.

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Ankle or foot injury

When you sustain a foot or ankle injury, it may also result in swelling or distension of those parts. In such cases, a sprained ankle is most widespread and this happens when any misstep of injury results in the ligaments holding the ankle in place to extend further than their normal scope.

If you want to decrease the swelling cause by an ankle or foot injury, it is essential to rest these parts with a view to keep away from walking on the hurt foot or ankle. In addition, you should apply ice packs on the affected area, cover the ankle or foot using compression bandage as well as place the affected foot in a raised position resting it on a pillow or a stool.

Call your doctor in case the distension and pain does not subside or is acute and does not show any sign of improving with home-made remedies.


Often distended ankles or feet may perhaps be a signal of infection. Individuals enduring diabetic neuropathy (a condition common to elderly diabetic patients) or other nerve problems relating to the feet are susceptible to enhanced risks of foot infections.

In case you are suffering from diabetes, it is essential for you to check your feet every day to find if there are any sores or blisters, as impaired nerves may possibly dull the feeling of pain enabling the foot problems to develop more rapidly. Contact your doctor at once, if you notice a distended foot or a blister that seems to be infected.

Complications of pregnancy

It is very common for women to have swollen ankles and feet during pregnancy. Although pregnant women may have abrupt or disproportionate puffiness of these body parts during pregnancy, it may perhaps be a signal of pre-eclampsia - an acute or grave health condition wherein blood pressure rises and protein grows in the urine following the 20th week of pregnancy.

You should straight away call your doctor if you experience acute swelling or puffiness of the ankles and feet alongside additional symptoms, for instance, nausea, headaches, vomiting, and pain in the abdominal region, intermittent urination and changes in vision.

Blood clotting

Formation of blood clots in the veins of the legs may obstruct the flow of blood from the legs back to the heart resulting in the distension of the ankles and feet.

Often, such blood clots may be superficial - happening in the veins just below the skin, or they may also occur deeper - an acute condition called deep vein thrombosis. Compared to superficial blood clots, the blood coagulation formed in the deep veins is graver, as it may obstruct one or several prominent veins in the legs.

In case such blood clots rupture or burst out and move all the way up to the lungs and the heart, they may even prove to be life-threatening. Therefore, remember to call your doctor straight away in case one of your legs is swollen accompanied by pain, very low fever and maybe with an alteration in the complexion of the affected leg. In such cases, it may be essential to give a treatment with blood thinners.

Heart, kidney or liver ailments

At times, puffed-up or distended ankle or feet may be a sign of another health condition, for instance, ailments of the heart, kidney and/ or the liver. If you notice that your ankles swell during the evening, it may be probably owing to retention of water and salt by the body owing to the failure of the right-sided heart.

In addition, problems of the kidney may also result in swelling of the feet and ankles. At times when the kidneys do not operate normally, there may be a fluid build up within the body. On the other hand, ailments of the liver may have an effect on the liver's capacity to produce a protein known as albumin that holds the blood from seeping out of the blood vessels into the adjacent areas.

Insufficient production of albumin may also result in leakage of fluid from the blood vessels. In addition, gravity also leads to further accumulation of fluids in the ankles and feet. However, fluids may also build up in the chest and abdomen. Call your doctor immediately if you notice that the swelling of your feet and ankles are accompanied by additional symptoms, such as loss of appetite, exhaustion and abnormal weight gain.

Deficiency of the veins

In several instances, swelling of the feet and ankles is attributed to initial venous insufficiency symptoms - a health condition wherein inadequate blood travels from the veins of the legs and feet to the heart. Generally, the veins maintain the flow of blood ascendant through one-way valves.

When these valves are damaged or become feeble, blood seeps out downwards in the vessels and the fluids are held on to the soft tissues of the lower part of the legs, particularly the ankles and the feet. It may be noted here that unceasing venous deficiency may result in skin ulcers, alterations in the skin conditions as well as contagions. You ought to contact your doctor immediately if you notice signals of venous insufficiency.

Lymphedema (Accumulation of lymph in soft tissues)

Accumulation or build-up of lymphatic fluid in the tissues may occur owing to the lack of or difficulties with the lymphatic vessels or following the elimination of the lymph nodes. It may be noted that basically the lymph is a fluid rich in protein content, which generally moves along a widespread arrangement of vessels as well as capillaries.

The lymph nodes filter the fluid by trapping and eliminating the undesirable substances, for instance, bacteria. However, the movement of the lymphatic fluid may be obstructed whenever there is any problem with the vessels or the lymph nodes. If this condition is not treated timely and properly, the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues may weaken the healing of wounds and result in contagion as well as malformation.

The condition of lymphedema is quite widespread after a radiation therapy or elimination of the lymph nodes in people enduring any form of cancer. In case you have had to undergo a cancer therapy and notice swelling of the ankles and feet, you should see your physician immediately.

Supplements and herbs

A number of herbs and supplements have proved to be effective in treating swollen ankles and feet. For instance, the butcher's broom ruscogenin tablets are especially effectual to provide relief from itching and burning sensations. The normal dosage of this herbal tablet is 100 mg taken once every day. Similarly, hawthorn solid capsules are also useful in making the fragile veins stronger and also enhance the tenor of the muscles that support the veins. The standard dosage of hawthorn solid capsules is 150 mg to 250 mg taken thrice every day.

Alternately you may even try gotu kola liposome tablets or capsules, which are effective in stabilizing the tissues that support the veins and as well augment the transportation of oxygen via the blood. The normal dosage of asiatocides is 60 mg to 120 mg taken once every day. However, women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should never use this herbal medication.

Tablets prepared with pine bark extracts or oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) grape seed are also effective in treating swollen ankles and feet, as they help to strengthen the blood vessels and also make them more supple. For best results, take 100 mg of this herbal product every day.

In addition, you may also take horse chestnut aescin tablets, which facilitate in making the blood vessels more flexible. This herbal product should be taken in dosage of 150 mg every day. However, women who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant should not use this herbal medication internally.


Although unknown to many people, aromatherapy offers a wonderful remedy for swollen ankles and feet. Aromatherapy was discovered by a French scientist way back in 1930 and this treatment procedure uses the natural fragrance of plants and herbs found in the nature.

Essential oils extracted from plants and herbs are also known as aromatherapy oils. However, these essential oils are never used in their original concentrated form, but diluted using suitable carrier oils prior to using them. Topical application of these essential oils on the affected areas, the swollen ankles and feet, facilitates in lessening the distensions naturally as well as rapidly. In addition, they are also useful in providing relief from sprains and damages, easing the pain as well as providing the requisite warmth to the injured tissues.

The method of using these essential oils to treat swollen ankles and feet involves adding around 12 drops of geranium essential oil and cypress essential oil each to four ounces of a suitable carrier oils, for instance, soy, almond or sunflower oil, as softly apply the blend to the affected areas, especially the legs, by means of an upward stoking massage.

Here is a word of caution while using the essential oils to treat swollen ankles and feet - remember that you should never massage the oils on the veins directly. Other essential oils that may be used for the purpose and those having the same therapeutic effects include chamomile and rosemary.

Always bear in mind that you should never use the essential oils, such as cedarwood, basil, cinnamon and those of the like for treating swollen ankles and feet caused by complications of pregnancy. The essential oils recommended for such conditions, include chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus and cypress.

Additional things you may do

Apart from using herbs and aromatherapy, there are a number of additional things that you may do to treat swollen ankles and feet. For instance, you ought to keep away from standing or sitting in the same position for long periods and also stay away from putting anything directly below your knees while you are lying down.

Also avoid wearing clothing that results in constriction as well as garters (any band or stocking of elastic) on the upper part of your legs. In addition, undertake work out of the legs as it helps to push back the fluid retained in the affected areas into the lymphatic channels and veins resulting in the swelling to subside. It may be noted that the pressure created by elastic bandages or supporting stockings is also able to lessen the swelling of the ankles.

In addition, you may also take a blend of vitamin C and approximately 3,000 mg to 6,000 mg of citrus bioflavonoids every day, as this combination is effective in treating swollen ankles and feet. You may also start taking a specialized diet that is low in salt content since it would help in decreasing the fluid retention as well as lessen the swelling of the ankles and feet.

In case the distended ankles are accompanied by swelling of the feet and the lower parts of the leg, it may be necessary to consult a doctor or healthcare provider regarding the problem.

Contact you doctor straight away if you notice that the swollen ankles are also accompanied with other symptoms, such as rigidness of the muscles and/ or joints, shuddering, difficulty in swallowing, haemorrhaging, distended or sore gums, problems in passing urine, lack of sensation or itchiness of the hand and/ or the feet, loss of balance, discharge from the breasts, hair loss and/ or flamboyant dreams.

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