What Are the Most Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Swelling?

Common causes of swelling in ankles and feet include pregnancy complications, lymphedema, infections, blood clots and venous insufficiency, according to WebMD. Swollen ankles may be as a result of medication side effects and heart, liver or kidney diseases.

Swelling in the ankles and feet during pregnancy is a sign of pre-eclampsia, reports WebMD. Swelling may be a sign of lymphedema, which is the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in tissues due to problems with the lymph nodes.

A blood clot in the veins of the legs may block the return of blood from the legs to the heart, explains WebMD. Deep blood clots in the veins of the legs may be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Infections may cause swelling in the feet and ankles, notes Healthline. This is common among diabetics, since some of them have diabetic neuropathy and nerve problems, according to WebMD. Nerve problems may numb the pain of blisters in the feet, and these blisters become infected and cause swelling.

Venous insufficiency means that the valves in the veins are damaged, and this may cause swelling in the feet and ankles, explains WebMD. Venous insufficiency causes inadequate flow of blood from the veins to the heart. This causes blood to leak back through the veins, and fluid is retained in the tissues of the feet and ankles.

Medications that may cause swelling in the feet and ankles include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants, according to Healthline. Swelling may indicate retention of water and salt, which is a sign of heart disease, reports WebMD. Fluid buildup may also mean the kidneys are not working properly. Liver diseases may affect the production of albumin, which causes leakage and accumulation of fluid in the feet and ankles.