Swollen Ankles After Surgery: Causes Of Swelling In Ankles And Feet

Causes Of Swollen Feet And Ankles

Swollen ankles after surgery is very common manifestation of lower leg surgery, for e.g. knee replacement surgery, hip replacement or any other surgery associated with lower legs. Excessive swelling in lower legs can interfere in the recuperative process after the surgery.

Deep vein thrombosis is a post surgical complication which one can come across giving rise to swelling in ankles and legs.

Swollen Ankles After Surgery

Let us understand the dynamics behind the ankle swelling after the surgery. And the way it can be avoided if necessary measures are taken, by the patient and the nursing staff as well.

Arteries carry the blood from the heart to the extremities and the end tissues, the same blood is then returned to heart via the veins. Proper return of the blood to the heart is ensured by the valves in the veins and the level of contraction of the muscles of the extremities during activity.

Swelling In Ankles After Surgery

After surgery of lower extremities or fracture, calf muscle contraction is decreased due to low activity and rest in bed, due to this the veins become distended and the valves loose their effectiveness. As a result there is pooling of blood in the lower legs and the ankle joint, this causes extravasation of fluid in the ankles and lower legs.

Added to this when leg is kept hanging for a long time the gravitational force acts in some way to increase the swelling in ankles.

Preventing Swollen Ankles

To prevent ankle swelling post surgery, medical specialists advises early mobility such as walking and exercise of legs while sitting and lying down in bed. This enables the calf and thigh muscles to contract and help in circulation of blood.


  1. GA said:

    I had left hip fracture six months ago. My ankle is still puffy and it also hurts. My doctor does not suspect anything wrong. But I am worried. Should I ask him for more tests that may help to detect if there is any abnormality in my leg. My age is 72, and this scares me.

    August 20, 2012
    • PUP said:

      You can always take a second opinion. After examination and detailed history, the doctor may or may not advice for extra tests, according to his findings.

      August 20, 2012
  2. Jones said:

    I had an ankle fracture in the month of May this year. I am now wearing a boot. The incision is totally healed up but I still have swelling of the ankle. I try to keep it elevated and once in awhile apply ice. Is there anything else I can do ?

    August 20, 2016
  3. DM said:

    Recovery of swelling of the ankle after surgery may depend on each individual. It may take 3 months for someone whereas in some other it may take 12 months. This depends on the body’s ability of healing the wound.

    June 26, 2018

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