Causes of Swollen Legs and Ankles – 8 Proven Reasons For Edema

In this article we’re going to discuss some of the main causes of swollen legs and ankles. The swelling, also called Edema and formerly known as dropsy or hydropsy, is an abnormal retention of fluid underneath the skin or in one more parts of the body. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons on why you are having the swelling in your legs and ankles.

Congestive Heart Failure

The degree of the swelling in the legs and ankles rely on the heart’s capability to pump blood, when the individual is standing or sitting. If your job requires you to stand or sit for a very long period of time then the gravity will act on your body. The heart must work hard to pump more blood to make up for the blood that’s flowing to the legs. If your heart is having a hard time pumping more blood, then the swelling can be seen in the legs and ankles.


Cirrhosis is an enduring disease that hinders the normal functions of a liver. In cirrhosis, the kidney stores salts and water. This results to the gathering of these fluids in the tissues underneath the skin of the legs and ankles, thus the reason behind the swelling of legs and ankles.

Kidney Disease

My mother has complications in her kidney and most of the time her legs and ankles can really swell up. The kidney filters out the salt that gets into your body and if it’s not functioning properly, salts are stored in the body which will retain water eventually. Excessive water retention will definitely cause the swelling.


This is the swelling that generally takes place in one of your arms and legs. Most of the time this only affects just one leg but there are also cases which both arms and legs may be swollen. This is caused when your lymphatic system is clogged which prevents lymph fluid from draining effectively. As the fluid builds up, the swelling will continue.

Lung Diseases

Extreme chronic lung diseases like bronchitis can also cause swelling in the legs. The blood flow is constricted in the lungs which causes swelling in other parts of the body including the legs and ankles.

Hormone Changes

During menstruation, the swelling can be seen in the pelvic area and the legs because of the hormonal changes the body goes through. Take note that not all women can have this symptom.


Most of the time pregnancy can cause swelling in the legs. The fluids are being contained in the tissues because of changes in the blood’s chemistry. Also the uterus is getting bigger and it adds pressure to the pelvis veins, which can lead to swelling. The swelling can be seen in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.


One of the obvious reasons for the swelling is being overweight. Because of gravity, the swelling in your lower leg increases after long periods of standing or sitting. You can tell if the condition is worse when you try pushing your finger into the swollen area and leave a mark when you remove the finger.