Whereas treatment for swollen ankles usually can be handled at home, emergency medical care should be sought out if the swollen ankles are due to preeclampsia, liver or kidney failure, abscesses, congestive heart failure or fracture, as MedicineNet.com points out. Appropriate treatment for swollen ankles depends on the condition's cause.
Symptoms or conditions occurring with swollen ankles that necessitate emergency medical help include shortness of breath, a history of heart or kidney disease, chest pain or tightness and redness or warmth in the ankle. In addition, pregnant women who experience a sudden increase in ankle swelling should call their doctors. When an ankle is swollen due to injury or other non-emergent causes, it can be treated at home by raising the legs above the heart and exercising, according to MedlinePlus.