Acupuncture For Ankle Swelling: Does It Help?


Maybe you’re an athlete who recently suffered an ankle sprain, or maybe you’re struggling with a health issue like venous insufficiency. Maybe you’re taking a medication that causes edema, or maybe you’re pregnant. Whatever may be causing your swollen ankles, it can be a frustrating condition that makes simply fitting into your shoes difficult. If you’re tired of dealing with your swollen ankles and desperate to find relief, acupuncture can help. But why is acupuncture for ankle swelling so effective?

Acupuncture stimulates lymphatic drainage, helping to reduce fluid build-up in the ankles. Furthermore, acupuncture helps reduce inflammation which may be contributing to your ankle swelling. 

How does acupuncture help treat ankle swelling?

Ultimately, the reason that acupuncture is so great for treating swollen ankles is simply because it supports the body. 

For active individuals suffering from ankle injuries, acupuncture works by alleviating pain and inflammation and stimulating healing. Getting the blood going to the injury site helps clear out pro-inflammatory byproducts. It also helps push fluid out of the area to keep swelling down naturally. 

Acupuncture is so effective for treating ankle injuries, and other musculoskeletal issues, that it’s used as a supportive measure in many athlete’s training programs. Regular sessions support proper muscle function and even have the ability to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. 

For individuals dealing with health issues like edema, venous insufficiency, nutritional imbalances, or side effects from their medications, acupuncture works because it stimulates the lymphatic system. Again, the increase in circulation supports the body’s ability to decrease fluid accumulation in the ankles. 

And, for expectant mothers, acupuncture can be an invaluable tool. Acupuncture helps alleviate swollen ankles and reduce edema by improving circulation in the legs. Acupuncture can also be used to treat other symptoms associated with pregnancy, including morning sickness, back pain, and fatigue.

Acupuncture improves range of motion in patients with ankle swelling

When you think about it, there really isn’t that much extra space in your ankles. There’s very little fat or muscle to disperse edema. It’s a bony area surrounded by ligaments. And when those ligaments are encased by fluid, obviously, they won’t be able to work as well. 

The great thing about using acupuncture to treat ankle swelling is that it can improve your range of motion simply by enhancing lymphatic drainage. By gently encouraging excess fluid to drain, acupuncture supports flexibility. Many patients notice an improvement in their symptoms immediately after their first session.

If your ankle swelling is the result of an injury, then not only will acupuncture help alleviate the associated edema, but it will also raise your pain threshold and fight inflammation so you can enjoy greater flexibility totally pain-free.

Acupuncture can also be useful for people dealing with ankle swelling that is associated with a past injury. If your ankle swelling is the result of an old sprain or break, then there’s a good chance you’ve got scar tissue in your ankle, which may be contributing to your swollen ankles. Acupuncture helps break up these adhesions improving your pain and swelling even years after you first sustained the injury.

How many acupuncture sessions are needed to treat swollen ankles?

Acupuncture is a gentle holistic therapy that helps the body heal on its own. That said, it’s also quite powerful and can produce results very quickly. Many patients notice a visible improvement in their ankle swelling after their first session. 

During your acupuncture session, your acupuncturist will determine the best trigger points to stimulate to treat your swollen ankles effectively. Next, they will insert hair-thin needles and allow them to stay in place for anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes, on average. 

Once the needles are in place, your acupuncturist may or may not manipulate them to increase their efficacy. In the meantime, you’ll be advised to relax while the needles work their magic. After the needles are removed and you leave the office, you should notice a significant decrease in your edema.

One acupuncture session can alleviate ankle swelling for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It all depends on what’s causing your ankle swelling in the first place, and how your body responds to the treatment. 

It’s difficult to say how many acupuncture sessions you’ll need to overcome your ankle swelling. Acute injuries and pregnancy may only require a short round of treatments to reduce swelling. However, for people taking medications or suffering from chronic health conditions, regular treatments may be advised. 

Combining holistic therapies can enhance your results

Acupuncture is a great first step when it comes to treating swollen ankles, but it’s not the only tool that we have at our disposal. Depending on the root cause of your ankle swelling, we may recommend several other supportive therapies to alleviate your edema. 

Electrostimulation can be helpful for treating ankle swelling associated with musculoskeletal injuries like sprains and strains. This therapy utilizes electrical pulses to encourage muscles to contract, and then relax, which can enhance mobility and improve strength. 

In some cases, we may also recommend corrective exercise therapy. By assessing the way you move your body, we can pinpoint the movements that may be predisposing you to ankle injuries and, consequently, swelling. Corrective exercise therapy teaches patients how to move synergistically, reducing the risk of injury. 

Every patient’s case is different. Some people find that acupuncture alone is enough to help them deal with their swollen ankles. But, in many instances, using additional therapies enhances the beneficial effects of acupuncture. We’ll work with you to determine the best path forward so you can enjoy an improvement in your symptoms.  

Booking your first appointment

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we have years of experience treating acute and chronic ankle injuries. We regularly work with athletes and other active individuals to address pain, reduce the amount of stress placed on the body, and improve performance.

That said, if your ankle swelling is the result of a health issue or medication, we can help you, too. And if you’re not even sure what’s causing your ankle swelling in the first place, we will help you get to the bottom of it so you can put a stop to your symptoms and finally get some relief. 
Contact our clinic today to book your appointment. During your first visit, we’ll discuss your health history and present concerns, and help you create realistic goals for your future.

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