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What causes ankle swelling?

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Quick Answer

Swollen ankles have numerous possible causes, some of which include pregnancy complications, injury, lymphedema and venous insufficiency, according to WebMD. Ankle swelling is common after excessive walking or standing, but swollen ankles that persist or accompany additional symptoms may indicate a potentially severe health issue.

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What causes ankle swelling?
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Full Answer

Some foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is normal, but severe or sudden swelling may indicate a serious complication known as preeclampsia, as stated by WebMD. This condition may occur after the 20th week of pregnancy and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, infrequent urination, nausea and abdominal pain. A sprained ankle is the most common injury that causes swelling, and treatment methods generally include rest, cold packs and compression bandages. If symptoms are severe or don't improve with conservative treatment, the patient should consult a doctor.

Lymphedema, a collection of lymphatic fluid that may develop due to a problem with the lymph vessels, is a common complication of radiation therapy or lymph node removal due to cancer, according to WebMD. Patients who experience ankle swelling after cancer treatment should contact a doctor immediately. Foot and ankle swelling may also be an early sign of venous insufficiency, a condition in which blood cannot move easily from the legs to the heart. This causes fluid retention in the soft tissues of the legs, which can lead to infection and ulcers of skin.

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