The most common cause of pain and swelling in the ankle is a sprain, according to WebMD. A sprained ankle occurs when a misstep or injury causes the ankle's ligaments to stretch further than normal.
Ankle pain can occur when the tendons, ligaments or bones experience trauma, notes Mayo Clinic. Some other common causes of pain in the ankle that may or may not be accompanied by swelling include bone spurs, stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis and osteoarthritis. Other common causes of ankle pain include rheumatoid, septic or reactive arthritis, pseudogout, gout and bursitis. Tarsal tunnel syndrome may also cause pain in the ankle.
While it is normal for ankles to swell during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a serious condition that requires medical attention, states WebMD. Lymphedema may cause swollen ankles. Lymphedema is a condition that can occur due to problems with lymph vessels, a lack of lymph vessels or the removal of lymph nodes.
An infection can cause the ankles to swell, according to WebMD. People with diabetes should inspect their feet and ankles for cuts or blisters regularly, as they may not notice the pain. Blood clots in veins in the legs can cause the ankles to swell. Swollen ankles may be a sign of kidney, heart or liver disease. There are numerous conditions that may cause pain or swelling in the ankles, so it is important to seek medical attention to be safe.