What is ankle swelling?
Ankle swelling is a sign of fluid buildup or inflammation of the joint and tissues of the ankle. Mild ankle swelling is a common occurrence after standing for a long period.
Ankle swelling, which is also called edema, can also result from serious infections, trauma, circulatory disorders, cardiac (heart) disorders, and other abnormal processes.
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One or both ankles may swell for a short time, such as after standing for a long time or sitting during a long airline flight. Ankle swelling can also be due to pregnancy, being overweight, vascular problems, or orthopedic conditions, such as a bone fracture or a sprained ankle.
Swollen ankles can also indicate a potentially serious disorder, such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, and liver failure. Because ankle swelling can indicate a potentially life-threatening illness, you should seek prompt medical care and talk with your medical professional about your symptoms. If you experience ankle swelling with chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, shortness of breath, or any difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical care (call 911).
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- Foot, leg, and ankle swelling. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003104.htm
- Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2012.