Learn More About Leg and Ankle Swelling

Leg and ankle swelling is a common problem, particularly among older individuals here in Florida.  It can occur in any part of the leg, including the thigh, calf, ankle, and foot. Ankle swelling or other swollen areas of the leg result from the abnormal buildup of fluid, known as edema, and can affect one or both legs. Ankle and leg swelling is not a normal part of the aging process and is often unrecognized and untreated vein disease.

What Causes Swollen Legs and Ankles?

There are a number of potential causes of leg, foot, and ankle swelling, including lifestyle factors, medications, and medical conditions.

Lifestyle Factors

Some of the causes of are related to lifestyle factors, such as:

  • Having a job that requires long periods of time standing or sitting. When your calf muscles remain inactive for significant periods of time, it hinders their ability to pump fluid back upwards toward your heart, which leads to retention of blood and lymphatic fluid.
  • Being overweight or obese. Excess body weight can lead to poor blood circulation, resulting in fluid buildup.


Ankle and leg swelling can also be the result of certain medications, including:

  • antidepressants, like MAO inhibitors
  • testosterone or estrogen
  • steroids
  • anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen

Other Potential Causes of Swelling in the Legs

Certain medical conditions can also cause leg swelling. These include:

  • deep vein blood clot
  • chronic kidney disease
  • lymphedema
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • heart failure
  • infection or injury
  • pericarditis
  • hormonal changes
  • cirrhosis
  • venous insufficiency/varicose veins

At-Home Remedies

There are a number of remedies that you can try at home to reduce swelling in your lower extremities. These include:

  • Elevating your legs above your heart when lying down.
  • Remaining active and moving your legs.
  • Reducing your salt intake.
  • Losing weight if overweight or obese.
  • Wearing compression socks or support stockings.
  • Moving around or standing at least once every hour if sitting for a long period of time.

Medical Treatments

When swelling occurs infrequently, it may not be cause for concern. However, it can be indicative of a serious condition, and should be investigated by a medical professional. Depending on your condition your doctor may recommend the following:

  • diuretics (water pills)
  • blood thinners
  • complete lymphatic decongestive therapy
  • physical therapy
  • vein treatments
  • surgery

If you are having swelling in the legs or ankle swelling, we encourage you to give us a call here at Vein911 in Florida at 855-396-8846. We are Florida vein care specialists, and Dr. Chris Pittman uses only the latest procedures and advanced technologies to treat all of your vein issues.