Peripheral edema is swelling of the feet or ankles and is common among older people. It is usually painless and can appear after standing or sitting upright for long periods of time and during pregnancy or menstruation. Some serious conditions such as blood clots, burns, malnutrition and infections can also cause swelling. If you have moderate to severe pain associated with your swollen ankles, you should see your physician to rule out any serious disorders that may be causing the edema.
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Exercise and Movement
Increase movement in your ankles by gently rotating them in each direction, which will help move out some of the fluid that has been trapped due to leaking capillaries.
Add exercise to your daily routine, suggests the Better Health Channel, which will help the body more quickly remove excess fluids as well as prevent the condition from occurring.
Massage your ankles gently to help the lymphatic system push the fluid back towards your heart for processing and removal. Use your fingers to lightly rub in a circular motion and avoid being aggressive or rough.
Lie down with your feet and ankles elevated to above your heart to utilize gravity and force the excess fluids back to your heart where it can be properly processed.
Drink plenty of water because your system will retain more if you do not consume enough, and that liquid will be pulled toward your ankles and feet via gravity.
Reduce your salt intake as sodium will cause your body to retain more fluids. Increased fluid retention puts excess pressure on capillaries, which causes them to leak into tissue and swell.
Drink a mild diuretic, such as cranberry juice or dandelion tea. This will help your kidneys remove the extra fluids along with sodium, which have caused the your ankles to swell.