Why do my ankles swell

Swollen ankles are normally a result of an unusually large build up of fluids, in what is known medically as peripheral oedema. Swelling of the ankles can occur for many reasons – particularly during hot weather, although medical advice should be sought in the case of swelling in order that more serious medical conditions can be checked for and ruled out.

Firstly, our ankles are more likely to swell up if we stand up for excessively long periods of time, and this is especially common during the warmer summer months when we tend to be outside for longer than at other times of year. The warmer summer months tend to precipitate greater activity, causing people to be on their feet for longer than normal. Swelling in the ankles is most likely to occur if you stand still on one spot for a prolonged period of time. Summer can also be a further culprit in swollen ankles when we consider diet. The warmer months often result in people eating more salty foods, perhaps in outdoor barbecues where extra salt is added, as well as being included in sauces and condiments.

Also, sweating causes electrolyte salt loss, and people may feel the need to overcompensate for this – perhaps not realizing just how much salt they are actually taking in. A higher salt intake will result in water retention, one of the critical factors in swollen ankles.

Again, swollen angles may simply be strictly a heat-related symptom as well, as overheating will cause a person’s ankles to swell in a condition called heat oedema. This happens as a result of your body being unable to expel salt and water, thereby leading to retention and thus swelling. In order to reduce and prevent swollen ankles it is important to exercise regularly and to become mobile if you have been either sitting or standing stationary for too long. Also, try to limit your salt intake, particularly during the hot summer months when such intake is likely to produce swollen extremities.

Heat also causes your blood vessels to expand, and when this happens other fluids may be able to leak into the surrounding tissues. By the force of gravity these fluids will migrate to your lower regions and extremities, thus resulting in swollen ankles also. You can also try loosening exercises to improve blood flow to your extremities. Yoga is particularly effective. Check your clothing as well, as tight trousers and jeans can also contribute to swelling by restricting blood flow and preventing proper circulation.

Should you be concerned about any sudden onset, however, be sure to seek a medical professional immediately as any number of conditions can also show themselves by exhibiting swollen ankles. For immediate relief try wearing looser footwear as well, and many anti-coagulants such as aspirin have also been known to help due to their ability to increase blood flow and prevent swelling throughout your body. Just be sure to get a professional opinion about the cause of your swelling if you are concerned, particularly if it is a recurring issue that prevents your regular enjoyment of life.