How To Treat Swollen Ankles: 7 Best Treatment Options

Although not a disease in itself, swollen ankles may represent an underlying disease.

In the simplest of cases, it may be a result of standing or sitting for long periods. However, swelling of the ankles sometimes is a sign of a more serious problem.

In both cases, it brings pain and discomfort and may hinder your daily activities.

Let’s find out how to treat swollen ankles by shedding light on some of the most common causes.

1. Foot Or Ankle Injury

how to treat swollen ankles

Swelling of the ankles is one of the most common consequences of a foot or ankle injury.

Not long after you sustain an injury, you may experience pain and inflammation and your ankles may appear swollen.

That being said, an ankle sprain is a common foot injury that causes the area to get swollen.

Fortunately, you can treat a sprained ankle at home with minimal resources. Here are the top home remedies you should try:

  • Wear an ankle brace for protection
  • Try to rest as much as you can and don’t put pressure on the injured ankle
  • Wrap a thin piece of cloth around an ice cube and apply it to the affected area for about 20 minutes
  • Lie on the bed in such a way that your foot is elevated over the waist area
  • Apply a compression wrap

2. Side Effect Of A Medicine

how to treat swollen ankles

Oftentimes, people experience swollen ankles as a side effect of taking prescription medicine.

Usually, these medications include steroids, anti-depressants, testosterone pills, birth control pills, and high blood pressure medicines that act as calcium channel blockers.

If you feel that your ankles are swelling because of taking certain medications, it’s best to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

They may recommend you take diuretic medicines to reduce the swelling or perhaps suggest some ways to treat swollen ankles at home.

3. Blood Clotting

how to treat swollen ankles

Sometimes, people experience swollen ankles due to clotting of blood in one of the leg veins.

This condition, known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), warrants emergency medical attention and help.

The blood flow to the heart is obstructed, which causes blood to accumulate in the affected leg and ultimately results in a swollen ankle.

Now, what happens is that the body tries to divert blood through smaller veins nearby.

These veins may expand over time and get successful in draining blood from the affected leg.

However, sometimes the veins fail to increase in size and so the entire leg remains swollen.

If the pain and swelling persist, the condition is called post-thrombotic syndrome.

Below are a few helpful tips on how to treat swollen ankles caused by DVT.

  • Keep the affected leg in an elevated position
  • Consume blood thinners or anticoagulant medications
  • Wear compression socks to improve the flow of blood
  • Consult a surgeon for a stenting procedure that involves inserting a tube into the blocked vein

4. Cellulitis

how to treat swollen ankles

Cellulitis refers to skin infections caused by bacteria. If you have diabetes, you may be at risk of developing these infections.

Among the wide range of symptoms of cellulitis is rapidly spreading swelling. If not treated quickly, the swelling may reach your feet and ankles.

Antibiotics are a common treatment option for this potentially life-threatening condition.

In case the antibiotics don’t work for you in the sense that the swelling doesn’t go away or gets worse, you must immediately tell your doctor about it.

5. Pregnancy

how to treat swollen ankles


It’s not uncommon for a body to produce extra blood and bodily fluids when a woman is pregnant. It’s nature’s way of supporting and protecting the developing fetus.

During the third trimester, women usually come in with a complaint of swelling. The legs, feet, ankles, hands, and face are often the target.

That being said, swelling is a common, harmless side effect of pregnancy and hence, there’s nothing to worry about.

However, if you experience it beyond the normal limit or just want to get relief from it, you should consider trying out the following home remedies.

  • Avoid caffeine
  • Reduce salt consumption
  • Eat potassium-rich food
  • Avoid standing for too long
  • Wear loose clothes
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Wear support stockings
  • Apply cold compresses
  • Avoid staying out in the sun for long periods
  • Keep your feet in an elevated position when resting

6. Lymphedema


Lymphedema is a condition that results from the accumulation of a fluid called lymph in the arms or legs.

It affects the soft tissues and occurs when the lymphatic system is blocked or damaged.

In addition to some genetic conditions, lymphedema can be caused by cancer, surgical removal of lymph nodes, and certain infections.

While you can’t reverse the damage caused to the lymphatic system, you can certainly reduce swelling and ease the symptoms.

Here are a few tips on how to treat swollen ankles.

  • Wear pressure bandages and garments
  • Exercise daily to increase the rate of respiration and heart
  • Get a gentle massage done by a professional therapist for lymphedema

7. Liver Disease

how to treat swollen ankles

Liver disease causes the albumin level to go down. This protein is actually responsible for preventing fluid leakage into the neighboring tissues.

Low levels of albumin in the liver may result in the accumulation of fluids in the abdomen, legs, and ankles. Consequently, these areas may get swollen over time.

To help reduce the swelling, you must:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Limit your intake of salt

Final Thoughts

how to treat swollen ankles

Swelling can not only make your feet unsightly but also make it difficult for you to walk. Not to forget the pain and discomfort that comes with it!

Now that you know how to treat swollen ankles, you can treat it at home!

However, if it doesn’t get better or just keeps getting worse, don’t hesitate to call your doctor for an effective treatment recommendation.