Tips and Tricks to Reduce Ankle Swelling

May 7th 2016

If you try all these tips and continue to experience ankle swelling with no obvious injury as the cause, you may be seeing a sign of heart or kidney problems, or you could be experiencing an unusual reaction to prescription medication. See a doctor right away to diagnose the reason for your continued ankle swelling.

Avoid Salt

The more salt you eat, the more likely you are to retain water, and some of that extra fluid can settle in your ankles. Especially if you are about to get on an airplane, cut back on the salt in your diet. If you can reduce salt intake to 1 teaspoon or less, you should see a decrease in your ankle swelling.


Exercise strengthens the veins in the leg, which are in turn better able to pump the blood from the ankle area back to the heart. Exercise also helps you lose weight, thereby providing great benefits to your circulatory system overall and your ability to flush excess fluids from the body.

Elevate Your Legs

Raise your legs above the level of your heart, propping them up on pillows or other supports. This allows the blood to flow away from the ankles and back through your circulatory system more easily.

Wear Supportive Hose

Support hose promote good circulation in your feet, ankles and calves. By applying a constant, gentle pressure on your legs, they discourage swelling and keep the blood moving. Support hose are available at medical supply stores and usually at drugstores as well. Other than specially designed support hose, avoid wearing tight garments around your thighs, as this can limit your circulation.

Move Around

If you experience ankle swelling while on an airplane, get up and stroll up and down the aisle. Try to get an aisle seat to make this easier to do, or ask for a bulkhead seat so you can stretch your legs out and change position. If you work in a job that has you sitting for long periods, it's also important to get up and move around, even just for a few minutes. Take your shoes off, and perform some foot stretches to get the blood moving as well.

Stay Hydrated

Try to drink 8 to 10 cups of water a day to stay hydrated. Proper hydration flushes excess sodium out of your system, which in turn reduces your ankle swelling.


Ankle swelling is the result of fluid buildup around the ankles. It can be the result of an injury, an indication of a circulation problem, or a side effect of diabetes or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. In addition, many people experience ankle swelling during a long flight or after standing for prolonged periods. If ankle swelling is accompanied by chest tightness or pain, dizziness, and/or confusion, you should get immediate medical treatment. Otherwise, here are some tips to reduce ankle swelling when it occurs.

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