5 Ways to Reduce the Swelling in Your Foot and Ankle



Persistent swelling after an injury or surgery can be very frustrating. This extra fluid can make your foot feel like a brick. It pounds, aches, and just leaves you feeling exhausted at times.


The good news is that there are several simple and effective ways to help reduce this swelling so that your foot and ankle can progress in their healing journey. Try the 1st 4 tips listed below (I’ve included links for all the things).


Then, read over tip #5. If you have already tried physical therapy AND you still have swelling - It may be because your PT did not use a technique called “joint mobilization”. This intervention is highly successful at reducing inflammation.

You can tell if they did this or not because he or she would have had to use his or her hands to gently move your ankle and foot bones around. If this does not sound familiar, find a PT that can offer this. Not all PTs do this. This specific technique for the foot & ankle is often learned in specialty course work that a PT completes outside of their normal physical therapy education.


Many times in health and body care, you have to not only educate yourself on what is available for your care but you need to be a self-advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be persistent until you find the care you need and deserve. I’m jumping off my soapbox now...


Check out these tips. Give them a try for at least 1-2 weeks and see if you notice any change. As always, reach out to us if you have any questions or need further help.


  1. Re-establish ankle range of motion. This allows for improved muscle contraction which can naturally pump fluid from the area. Try THESE simple exercises.

  2. Use a compression wrap (like THIS one) during the day to assist edema control when the leg is in a gravity-dependent position

  3. Lymphatic massage (like THIS video) to specific points on your leg (behind ankle bones, behind the knee, groin) with gentle pressure in a circular motion to stimulate the lymphatic system. Follow up with activation of gastroc, quad, and glutes to pump fluid.

  4. Elevate your leg (above your heart) when possible

  5. See a PT that is trained in specific joint mobilization techniques that allows for improved joint function and return to a normalized range of motion-this allows for improved muscle contraction and gait quality.

Have Questions?

Do you have additional questions and want to talk to a PT? Click here to set up a quick call and we can help guide you on your next steps and help you find a great treatment plan.