Swelling of the ankles - feet - legs; Ankle swelling; Foot swelling; Leg swelling; Edema - peripheral; Peripheral edema
- Elevate your legs above your heart while lying down.
- Exercise your legs. This helps pump fluid from your legs back to your heart.
- Wear support stockings (sold at most drug and medical supply stores).
- Follow a low-salt diet, which may reduce fluid retention and swelling.
Call your health care provider if
Call 911 if:
- You feel short of breath.
- You have chest pain, especially if it feels like pressure or tightness.
Call your doctor right away if:
- You have decreased urine output.
- You have a history of liver disease and now have swelling in your legs or abdomen.
- Your swollen foot or leg is red or warm to the touch.
- You have a fever.
- You are pregnant and have more than just mild swelling or have a sudden increase in swelling.
Also call your doctor if self care measures do not help or swelling worsens.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your doctor will take a medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination, with special attention to your heart, lungs, abdomen, legs, and feet.
Your doctor will ask questions like the following:
- What specific body parts swell? Your ankles, feet, legs? Above the knee or below?
- Do you have swelling at all times or is it worse in the morning or the evening?
- What makes your swelling better?
- What makes your swelling worse?
- Does the swelling get better when you elevate your legs?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include the following:
- Blood tests such as a
CBCor blood chemistry ECG
Chest x-rayor extremity x-ray Urinalysis
The specific treatment will be directed at whatever underlying cause is found. Diuretics may be prescribed. These are effective in reducing the swelling but have some side effects. Home treatment for
Review Date: 12/01/2009
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine (5/21/2009).