How to Reduce Ankle Swelling

· November 17, 2014

Ankles are a very delicate part of the body and are made up of ligaments, bones, and muscles. Although they are one of the strongest parts because they support the majority of your body weight, the truth is that they are very vulnerable to injuries and problems. One of these is swelling, which can be caused by fluid retention or from walking on uneven surfaces, wearing bad shoes, sprains, or cramps.

Ankle Pain

Swelling may not always cause pain, but it is very uncomfortable. If you feel pain on the inside or outside of one or both ankles, it could be an obvious sign of an injury. If it is persistent, it is best to see a specialist. If besides being in pain, you notice it is inflamed, it could be due to an impact or slight sprain and you can treat it as one with satisfactory results.

A great way to ease ankle pain or swelling is to put ice on them. You can use a plastic bag that you fill with ice cubs and then cover it with a cloth or also those liquid cubes that you put in the refrigerator (they are used to store medication or vaccines). If you don’t want to put ice on it, put your feet in a bowl with cold tap water for 15 or twenty minutes. Repeat every two or three hours for at least three days in a row.


Keep in mind that ice is good because it reduces swelling. A home treatment you can do when your ankles get hit is after applying coldness, immediately put them in hot water so that there is a difference in temperature and it improves circulation (this is best for when you have bruises).

How to Get Rid of Ankle Edema

Edema is the medical name for swelling and can be caused from spending a lot of time standing up or sitting down, during pregnancy, because of being overweight, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. It is generally due to excess fluids that accumulate in your lower body parts. The good thing is that it can be treated in different ways, which include playing a sport and putting your feet up for a few minutes. However, if you have chronic inflammation or in other terms it happens often, it is best to see a specialist or look for more effective treatments.

The first thing you have to do is identify the causes of this problem before trying to treat the symptoms. Some of the reasons can be malnutrition, obesity, arthritis, or heart or kidney diseases. If you notice any of these, you will need a plan to keep it under control and change various aspects of your lifestyle.


If you take medication, one of the side effects may be ankle edema. Some of the kinds that can cause this problem or make it worse are hormones (contraceptives, for example), anti depressives, and hypertension medicine. The best would be to avoid taking them, if you can, or find a less invasive alternative.

Your diet should be low in salt because sodium helps retain fluids, not only in your ankles but also in other parts of your body. Also, exercise is very important for your life, especially if you are pregnant, work all day, or are elderly. You can do any type of activity according to your abilities. Taking a walk three times a week is recommended.

To avoid your ankles from getting swollen, you should avoid staying in the same position (standing or sitting) for a long time. If you have no other option because of your job, try to change your position every once in awhile. If you can stand up just to walk to the window to get a little bit of fresh air, it will do wonders for you.


Another interesting piece of advice is to not wear pants, socks, or shoes that are too tight around your ankles. Also be careful with the area around your muscles because if it is too tight there it can have consequences on the lower part of your legs.

Home Remedies for Ankle Swelling

  • Put your ankles up, with your legs straight, on a couch or chair. Put a bag of ice with a cloth around it for a few minutes. Another option is when you are laying down in bed, lift your legs up and put them on the wall with your heels touching it, keeping them as straight as possible. You will immediately feel the blood and swelling beginning to go down. It is difficult to stay in this position longer than five minutes, but with some practice you will be able to resist more each time.
  • Apply a cold compress (it could even be a package of frozen vegetables) covered in a cloth so that there isn’t direct contact with your skin and it doesn’t burn you. When it gets warm, put it back in the freezer so that it freezes again and you can apply it later.
  • If you have a sprain, tendinitis, pain, or twists, alternate wrapping it with cold and hot vinegar. Heat equal parts vinegar and water in a saucepan for five minutes. Soak a towel in it and wrap your ankle with it. Leave it on for a few minutes and repeat the same process but with cold vinegar. Do it three times with each temperature.
  • For swollen ankles, you can also put cucumber slices on them covered with a cloth or bandage. It will absorb the liquid and recovery will be quicker.
  • An effective exercise for swollen ankles: sit on the floor and stretch your legs out. Turn our ankle clockwise and counterclockwise, fifteen times on each side. You will also improve blood circulation.


Images courtesy of Sandy Austin, Valeries, jo marshall, Cakersandco, Gainesvegas