How to reduce swollen ankles

Updated March 23, 2017

Swollen ankles or oedema, doesn't just happen to pregnant ladies but can affect each and every one of us at any stage of life. There are many reasons why ankles swell varying from too much sodium in the diet, sodium retention, obesity, neuromuscular disorders, taking birth control pills or hormone therapy, laxative abuse, diuretic abuse, allergic reactions, trauma or poor diet/malnutrition and standing too long. Some, or all of these causes may contribute to swollen ankles. Embarrassing and inconvenient, swollen ankles may interfere with your lifestyle and your plans.

Drink plenty of water: Flush your system with lots of water; I know this may seem like the opposite thing to do when you are retaining fluid, but flushing the fluid away with more water is effective and you will soon see a reduction in the swelling.

Elevate your legs above your heart: Sitting in a recliner with it in fully reclined mode, will do wonders for your swollen ankles. If no recliner is available, then lying flat on your bed or the couch with your feet elevated above your heart on pillows will work just as well.

Buy a diuretic: Sometimes diuretics may help with the problem of swollen ankles by ridding the body of excess water. You will find that you need to use the bathroom a lot more than you have been doing. Eat bananas while on a course of diuretics as they may rid the body of potassium as well as fluids.

Wear support hose or socks: Many different products are on the market to alleviate swollen ankles and legs; graduated compression socks or hose, some open-toed for added comfort (recommended), will help with venous insufficiency by helping with blood return. You will find that you can get on with your normal life by wearing compression socks or hose and reduce the time you elevate your legs.

Walk around: Walking about may help with blood flow and reduce the swelling in your legs and ankles but everything in moderation; don't sit or stand in one place for too long. Move your toes and flex your heels every few minutes to improve your circulation.

Visit your physician: Prolonged ankle or leg swelling may be a signal that there is an underlying health problem causing the swelling. An appointment with your physician is wise and will put your mind at rest.


Visit your physician if the swelling goes futher than your knees

Things You'll Need

  • Recliner
  • Pillows
  • Water
  • Compression stockings
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About the Author

Victoria Ries is a freelance writer whose work has been published in various print magazines, including "Guideposts," "BackHome," New Homesteading" and "Mother Earth News." Ries enjoys working on diverse topics such as travel, animal rescue, health and home business. Ries is currently working on her B.A. in psychology.