How to Deal with Swollen Ankles and Feet

Just because you have swollen ankles, legs or feet, it doesn’t mean you have to live in discomfort!

There are a variety of medical conditions that can cause symptoms that include swollen feet, ankles and legs. These can include short-term conditions resulting from a trauma such as a sprained ankle or a broken foot; and longer-term health conditions such as oedema, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Effects of swollen ankles and feet

Swollen ankles and feet can cause a number of problems, the most common being circulation constrictions that can cause painful and unsightly markings on the leg, and irritations that can be extremely uncomfortable or painful to sensitive feet and legs.

What to look for in socks for swollen ankles and feet?

Getting the right shoes and boots can make a significant difference to those suffering from swollen ankles and legs, as can specialist socks.
A little bit of time and money invested in the right socks can make the world of difference to someone with swollen ankles and sensitive legs and feet.

Look for the following features that socks for swollen ankles can include:

  • Extra-wide fitting
    These socks fit the intended shoe size, but have additional material throughout the foot and leg of the sock in order to accommodate the swollen leg without causing discomfort.
  • Non-constrictive or non-elastic tops
    Often the elastic on regular socks can ‘bite’ into the leg and cause unsightly marking, as well discomfort and pain. Socks specially designed for swollen legs and ankles should either incorporate a loose, non-constrictive mesh elastic or a non-elastic design in the top of the sock so they don’t restrict circulation or leave marks on your legs.
  • Seamless toe
    Many socks from high-street retailers will have a noticeable seam across the toe area, where the sock has been finished. This seam can cause irritation to the wearer, especially if they have sensitive or swollen feet. Look for socks with a flat-seam, seamless or ‘hand-linked’ toe seam.
  • Cushion sole or full cushioning
    Padding can prevent irritation or discomfort on sensitive ‘pressure points’, such as the sole of the foot or ankle. Choose a sock with appropriate cushioning, as too much material can be equally as uncomfortable if it makes a shoe feel too small.
  • Breathable
    Let your feet breathe! Natural fibres such as cotton, wool and bamboo derived viscose, will allow air to circulate round your feet, reducing the chance of irritation and blistering.

What else can I do to look after my legs and feet?

Of course, the first thing you should do is speak to a medical expert. Swollen ankles or feet could be the symptom of a serious illness.

However, it’s worth following the advice outlined by the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists who give the following guidelines to those with diabetes who are looking to maintain healthy feet:

  • Don’t walk barefoot.
    You could damage the sensitive skin on your feet
  • Never sit cross-legged.
    It can further reduce circulation to your feet
  • Wear suitable, well-fitted footwear.
    Avoid shoes that rub your feet, put pressure on your ankles or exacerbate your sensitive legs and feet
  • Wear socks with the right features.
    Choose socks that are recommended and have a track record for people with swollen ankles and feet
  • Look after your toe-nails.
    Keep them well-trimmed and maintained—this will be more comfortable for you and will also extend the life of your socks!
  • ALWAYS seek professional treatment.
    Do not attempt to home treat or follow treatments that lack scientific study and research. If in doubt, speak to your doctor or consult a podiatrist.

HJ the sock specialists have been designing and making socks for over 135 years, their legendary softops are specifically designed for those that either don’t like the feeling of normal elasticated socks, or suffer from poor circulation or diabetes and were patented by HJ Hall in 1992. The unique rib construction of the Softop stays put without restricting blood flow or leaving constriction marks around the legs. Available in cotton, wool or bamboo and endorsed by the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

Further information is also available at  

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