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How to Reduce Ankle Swelling

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Authored by Jaipi Sixbear in Wounds and Injuries
Published on 10-20-2009

Ankle swelling can happen to anyone. Ankle swelling occurs for different reasons. How you reduce ankle swelling depends largely on how the swelling was caused. Some swelling of the ankles is minor and temporary. Others could be due to health issues such as arthritis. Most methods to reduce ankle swelling include elevation as part of the solution.

Ankle Swelling from Injuries

Ankle swelling due to injuries should involve medical consultation. Serious injury should be ruled out. To reduce ankle swelling while waiting for a doctor visit, take the following steps. The injured ankle should be elevated level with the hips. Use an ice pack on the injury for the first ten minutes. Follow ice with a heating pad for an equal amount of time. Alternate ice and heat until help arrives.

Ankle Swelling from Arthritis

Arthritis can cause painful swelling of ankles and other joints. To reduce ankle swelling from arthritis, elevate the ankle as above. Apply topical arthritis medication or take anti-inflammatory medicine as recommended by your physician. Each case of arthritic ankle swelling is different. Some respond better to ice packs and some swelling is reduced by heat.

Ankle Swelling from Poor Circulation

Ankle swelling from poor circulation is characterized by one foot or leg that is cold to the touch. To reduce ankle swelling from poor circulation, elevate the foot ankle level with the heart. This technique makes it easier for the heart to circulate blood to the feet and ankles. Leg, foot and ankle massage are another effective way to reduce ankle swelling.

Ankle Swelling from Prolonged Sitting

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause fluids to build up in the ankles. If you have a desk job or must remain sitting for more than an hour at a time, put your feet up before, during and after sitting. This promotes proper circulation to reduce ankle swelling. It’s also a good idea to get up and walk around on breaks.

Ankle Swelling from Prolonged Standing

Cashiers and waitresses often have trouble with ankle swelling. Prolonged standing can cause swelling in the feet and ankles. People who work on their feet should make a conscious effort to sit down and put their feet up when on breaks. Massage is also an effective option for them. People who stand in one place on the job might benefit from stretches and other leg exercises as well.

Ankle Swelling from Kidney and Heart Problems

People with kidney and heart problems should consult their doctor for methods to reduce ankle swelling. Fluids have a tendency to build up in the feet and ankles of kidney and heart disease patients. It’s likely the doctor will recommend patients reduce salt intake, along with making other dietary and exercise recommendations.

Ankle Swelling from Lack of Exercise

People who lead sedentary lifestyles often have trouble with swollen ankles. Reduce ankle swelling by increasing activity gradually. Start by walking at a leisurely pace around the block. Increase distance and intensity to get back into physical shape. This will reduce ankle swelling, boost weight loss and bring a feeling of overall well being.

Ankle swelling is caused by a wide variety of lifestyles, injuries and physical conditions. Knowing the cause of ankle swelling will determine the best treatment approach. See a doctor for medical symptoms such as chronic swelling of the ankles. This could indicate a more serious condition such as kidney or heart disease.

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