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Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet

What are the most common causes swollen ankles and swollen feet?

The causes of swollen feet and ankles are numerous; the following is a list of most of the major causes with some examples.

  • Dependent swelling (or edema): swelling due to standing or walking (usually over some time period that varies from person to person)
  • Pregnancy: the normal swelling that most pregnant women experience during pregnancy
  • Medications (side effects): Many medications have the side effects of fluid retention that manifests as swelling. Although the reader is advised to check their individual medications for side effects of swelling, general drug categories that may cause swelling include anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids and NSAIDs), hormones, medications for people with diabetes, antidepressants, and many calcium channel blockers (anti-hypertensive and cardiac medications).
  • Injury: any trauma to the foot or ankle (usually sprains or fractures) can result in swelling
  • Diseases: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease (all of these diseases can influence fluid mobilization in the body by physical, metabolic and electrolyte-water interactions)
  • Infection: any infection, either localized (abscess) or diffuse (cellulitis)
  • Lymphedema: swelling due to lymph vessel or lymph node blockage of lymph fluid
  • Blood clot(s): blockage of blood vessels (usually venous) that cause fluid to leak out of vessels into tissue

Picture of pitted edema
Picture of pitting edema
Reviewed on 8/31/2016

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