Ankle Swelling

Feet | Orthopaedics | Ankle Swelling (Symptom)


The ankle is a hinged joint. Ankle swelling is a condition involving fluid buildup or inflammation of the joint and tissues of the ankle.


Ankle swelling, also known by the term of edema, can occur after standing for a long period, from serious infections, trauma, circulatory disorders, cardiac disorders, and other abnormal processes. Injury of an ankle that can cause swelling includes: broken bone, muscle, ligament, or cartilage injury, such as a torn ligament or pulled muscle and repetitive stress injury. Infectious conditions are the following: Amyloidosis, a rare immune-related disorder, Bursitis, Osteoarthritis, Septic arthritis or Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Ankle swelling can also be caused by pregnancy, overweight, vascular problems, or orthopedic conditions such as bone fracture or sprained ankle. Swollen ankles can also be a symptom of serious disorder, like congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, and liver failure.

Ankle swelling can occur with other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. These symptoms can be minor and include tenderness, joint stiffness, muscle cramps, red, swollen joint, fatigue or weakness, or more severe like: indigestion or abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, red and warm skin, shortness of breath or wheezing, high fever.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Medical history and medical examination are essential because it is important to find the underlying cause of ankle swelling to determine what treatment is appropriate. Some medications (hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, blood pressure medication, steroids and antidepressants) often have the side effect of swelling. X-rays are normally ordered if there was an injury involved. In some cases, more detail is needed, so a CT scan or a DVT ultrasound may be used to examine the veins in the leg to detect clots. A blood test analysis and urinalysis might be conducted if an infection or gout is suspected. If a blood clot is being considered, an ultrasound might be ordered to determine the size and location of the clot. A physician might also order an ECG to determine if there is a cardiovascular problem.

Treatment of ankle swelling depends of the underlying disease, and may include: antidepressants, such as tricyclics and MAO inhibitors, Steroids, Diabetes medications, High blood pressure medications and Hormone therapy. ...

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