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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

What can I do about "fluid in my ankle"?

My doctor said I have fluid in my ankle and might have to get it drained. Im not sure what this means or if there are other options. I am a 27 year old runner.

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Featured Answer

27 UpVoted this answer
To say there is fluid in your ankle brings up one big question: "Why is it there?" Excess fluid in a joint is generally due to some sort of inflammatory process such as arthritis, cartilage damage, or a fracture that has not healed. Many other options such as gout may be present. For that matter, the fluid may not be in the joint itself, but in a tendon or local fluid-filled cyst such as a ganglion cyst. A thorough examination by a specialist in foot and ankle problems, which is what a podiatrist is, would be indicated. X-rays and possibly an MRI would likely be indicated to determine the underlying cause and most appropriate treatment.
16 UpVoted this answer
There are several ways to get rid fluid in the ankle. Your options include Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories, Massage, Physical Therapy, Compression Stockings, Ace Compression, or an Ankle Brace or pneumatic walking boot.
Pedram A. Hendizadeh
12 UpVoted this answer
Many people have found safe, effective relief with KB-C from or .com

It is inexpensive and usually fast working.

Helping herbs and Wellness 419728
10 UpVoted this answer
is the swelling outside the joint or from within it- did you sprain your ankle recently?

swelling is a symptom- get a diagnosis-

If swelling is from within the joint MRI could unveil osteochondral defect

aspirate joint fluid and analyze it

once you've established diagnosis then you can treat it properly
Irwin D. Cohen
10 UpVoted this answer
Were any x-rays performed, is it red and hot, any fevers, is it painful?
8 UpVoted this answer
Ask your doctor to use more medical terms. Your ankle is supposed to have fluid in it.
7 UpVoted this answer
Fluid in your ankle is also known as ankle joint synovitis. It is usually the result of repetitive trauma, especially with running. An MRI or ultrasound can verify the fluid and an ankle joint aspirate can help diagnose the cause.
Michael Daniels
6 UpVoted this answer
It depends on the nature extent and location of the fluid. It may be intra-articular namely in the ankle joint work may be extra-articular and MRI or ultrasound could help determine the exact location and size and better determine if the fluid needs to be drained or if it will subside naturally it's best to consult with your doctor for the best treatment
4 UpVoted this answer
Assuming you had negative x rays, the fluid in your ankle could represent a variety of things. It is not always advisable to simply aspirate or drain fluid from the ankle without understanding what the causes are. If your radiographs showed something questionable in the ankle or demonstrated an effusion in your ankle which is what fluid will look like on an xray. Then your doctor may recommend an MRI. This may show whether or not you have synovitis or inflammatory tissue in your ankle or could have possibly caused damage to the cartilage in your ankle which may be causing the inflammation. While there are many other things that it could be, it would make sense to try to understand what the etiology of this fluid is.
3 UpVoted this answer
Jim Smith