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Ankle Swelling

By

Healthgrades Editorial Staff

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.

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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).

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 30, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. 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
  2. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2012.

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