Management of swelling ankles

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Swelling ankles can be caused by several reasons such as injuries of the muscle that is caused by sprains and strains. Sprains are caused by overstretching of the ligaments of the ankle joint. Pain in the ankle is caused by a sudden turn or stop, lifting heavy objects, falls and injuries.

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Ankle strains cause internal bleeding, torn ligament and swollen joint capsule which leads to pain and difficulty in movement. The first degree is a mild injury that causes minimal pain and loss of movement. The second degree is a moderate injury and the person experiences sharp pain while in motion, swelling and some discoloration of the skin. A third degree injury is a severe injury where the person experiences severe pain, spasmodic muscle contractions and swelling.

Swelling ankles
Ankle strains cause internal bleeding, torn ligament and swollen joint capsule which leads to pain and difficulty in movement.

Causes of ankle swelling

  • Swelling of the ankle can be caused by injuries, trauma to the ankle joint that function in supporting the structures or the surrounding tissue can swell from buildup of fluid and there is pain, bruising and limited range of motion.
  • A long period of standing or sitting causes the ankles to swell and there is buildup of fluid in the lower leg.
  • Ankles can swell due to medications such as calcium channel blockers used in controlling blood pressure and heart diseases.
  • Steroids and hormones such as estrogen used for hormone therapy replacement or for birth control as well as some antidepressants or tricyclics can cause swelling of the ankles.
  • Some medical conditions such as congestive heart failure can cause buildup of fluids in the lower extremities and a symptom of heart failure includes swelling of the ankles. People with arthritis can suffer from swelling of the ankle as well.
  • Women can sometimes suffer from swollen ankles during pregnancy in which the uterus grows and adds pressure on the blood vessels and slows down the return of fluids back to the heart. Sudden swelling of the ankle can be a symptom of preeclampsia along with high blood pressure, headache, blurred vision and sudden weight gain.

Treatment and home remedies of swelling ankles

  • Apply an ice pack over the affected area since it helps minimize pain and swelling of the ankles.
  • Elevate the ankle above the level of the heart for proper blood circulation.
  • Avoid putting pressure or weight on the affected area.
  • Place a wraparound cloth or a splint to the affected area in order to lessen the swelling and prevent further injury.
  • Massage and perform ankle circular exercises in order to promote blood circulation in the affected area which must be done in a slow manner. Stop the massage or the exercise if pain is felt.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications in order to minimize swelling of the ankle and analgesics can be prescribed in order to help minimize ankle pain.

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