Swollen ankles can be common and are not usually a cause for concern. They can occur with age, if you stand on your feet for a long period of time or if you walk a lot. That said, swelling can also be linked to more serious issues such as liver, kidney or heart disease. We will now take a closer look at what causes the swelling and how to treat it.

Causes of swollen ankles

Sitting for long periods

Sitting in a car, train or plane for a long period of time can result in swelling of the ankles as the lack of movement causes fluid to collect in the legs.

Swollen ankles of an elderly women with a cat in background

Lack of water and too much salt

Although salt is vital as it helps us to retain water, it can also be the cause of your ankles swelling. To counteract this, eat spinach and bananas, which are high in potassium and therefore act as a diuretic. Secondly, drink plenty of water, as this will help the fluids in your body to move around and reduce the swelling in your ankles.

Standing for long periods

Walking can reduce swelling, but simply standing will not and can, in fact, cause your ankles to swell. This is because when we stand gravity is against us. This makes it difficult for our bodies to avoid keeping the blood in our feet and ankles.

Liver, kidney or heart disease

Liver disease affects the amount of albumin that our liver produces. The role of the protein albumin is to prevent blood from escaping from our vessels and entering nearby tissue. If this occurs, any fluid that has escaped begins to collect in the ankles and the feet and it can also collect in the chest and abdomen.

When the kidneys stop working properly they can also cause a build up fluid which accumulates in the ankles and feet.

If the ankles tend to swell in the evening this could indicate heart failure caused by retaining salt and water in the body.

Simple ways to prevent swollen ankles

Lose weight

When you are overweight, your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around your body. This increases the risk of swelling in the ankles, feet and legs.


Where possible, get up and walk about but if you are not able to walk around, then one at a time, lift your legs up and rotate your feet to get your blood moving.

Aim to exercise for 30 minutes every day, or at least three times a week. Reduce your intake of unhealthy fats, sugar and overall calories to help you to lose weight.

Use travel socks

Travel stocks prevent blood from being able to pool in your ankles and feet. When wearing travel socks, remember to wear looser fitting clothing on the rest of your body. This way your blood can move around easily and reduce the swelling in the ankles.

Be aware!

If the cause of the swelling in your ankles is linked to liver, kidney or heart disease, then medical attention and a good care are paramount.

At Haym Salomon Home for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Brooklyn, NY, you can rest assured knowing that fully trained staff are an essential part of your care. Get in touch with us or walk in if you or your loved one needs nursing and rehabilitation care and also has trouble with swollen ankles, feet or legs.

This content comprises informative and educational resources only and can not be considered as a substitute for professional health or medical guidance. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk. If you have any inquiries or apprehensions about your medical condition or health goals, talk with a licensed physician or healthcare provider.