5 Reasons for Swollen Ankles

We can get swollen ankles for many reasons. Some common reasons include being pregnant or sitting/standing for long periods of time. Ankle sprains, broken ankles and fractures are also very common reasons for swelling. But swelling can also happen due to “hidden” reasons that are not as obvious. Here are a few to watch out for.


  1. Infection – People who have nerve damage or circulation issues have a higher risk for infection in their feet and ankles. If you’re diabetic and notice that your feet are swollen even though you don’t feel any pain, make sure to rule out that it’s an infection before it spreads and worsens.
  2. Heart, liver or kidney disease – If you have heart disease, your heart may have trouble oxygenating the blood, which can cause a variety of serious problems. If you notice swelling accompanied with any chest pain or shortness of breath, call your doctor or emergency services right away. If you have problems with your liver, your body may have fluid leakage and gravity will make the fluid naturally pool in the feet and ankle area. When you have kidney disease your body has trouble removing excess fluid from the body. This can cause swelling in general but also around your feet and ankles. Although the swelling itself isn’t as dangerous, it’s important to get treatment for your kidneys right away.
  3. Blood clot – If a clot forms in your legs, the veins can get clogged which will cause your ankles and feet to swell. Not all blood clots are life threatening but if a deep clot gets loose and finds its way to your heart or lungs you could be in a dangerous situation. Blood clots can be treated with blood thinners if caught in time.
  4. Medication – Many modern medicines have a variety of side effects. Swelling is one of the minor ones but it can still be an issue. If you’re taking medication and you notice that your feet and ankles are swollen, visit your doctor to adjust your dosage or change your medication.


Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients in the Centreville, VA area for over seventeen years. If you have any questions contact us at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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