Why Do My Ankles Swell When Cycling: 7 Causes [Practical]

7 real reasons your ankles swell when cycling & 4 effective ways to fix them

An excessive amount of swelling can decrease blood flow and deplete oxygen from your muscles, resulting in pain, cramping, and muscle fatigue. Sometimes, swelling may also lead to the development of blood clots, which is a severe condition that can be life-threatening.

Yes, cycling can cause swelling in the ankles because of the pressure created by the force of the pedal stroke between the first and second toes. This pressure builds up on the nerves between the tops of the metatarsal bones, leading to foot swelling.

In this blog post, we will explore why do my ankles swell when cycling, the causes of swollen ankles while cycling, and ways to reduce ankle swelling.

Why Do My Ankles Swell When Cycling: 7 Causes

7 Reasons Why My Ankles Swell When I Cycle

It’s not uncommon to experience ankle swelling during or after a ride. This can be a concern, as swollen ankles may show an underlying medical condition. Here are some actual causes of ankle swelling while cycling:

  • Trauma: Trauma is a leading cause of ankle swelling. It may be because of an injury while cycling or a previous injury that did not heal properly. If you have a history of ankle injury, you are more likely to experience ankle swelling during cycling.
  • Infection: Infection can also cause ankle swelling during cycling. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause inflammation and swelling of the ankle joint. Medical attention should be sought if you suspect an infection.
  • Inflammatory diseases: Various inflammatory disorders, including arthritis and arthritis, can cause ankle swelling. These conditions can cause joint inflammation, leading to swelling and pain.
  • Medical conditions: Medical conditions such as heart failure and kidney disease can also cause ankle swelling. Discussing your cycling activity with your doctor if you have an underlying medical condition is essential.
  • Lack of conditioning: A lack of conditioning can also lead to ankle swelling. If you are new to cycling or have not cycled, your ankles may swell during or after your ride.
  • Poor bike fit or technique: Poor bike fit or technique can cause ankle swelling. A poorly fit bike can lead to excessive pressure on the foot, leading to inflammation and swelling. Inappropriate cycling techniques can also cause swelling in the ankles.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can also cause ankle swelling while cycling, affecting the blood flow to the feet and ankles.

4 Best Ways To Reduce Swelling In Your Ankle

Cycling can help you maintain good health, but you could get swelling in your ankles, which can be uncomfortable and concerning. If you’re a frequent cyclist, you might wonder why your ankles swell and what you can do to reduce the swelling.

RICE Method

The RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method is a standard first-aid treatment for many injuries, including ankle swelling. Here’s how to use it for ankle swelling reduction when cycling:

  • Rest: Avoid cycling or any other physical activity that strains your swollen ankle.
  • Ice: Put an ice pack on or freeze some peas on your swollen ankle for 15-20 minutes every few hours. This can help reduce inflammation and manage pain.
  • Compression: Wear a compression sleeve or bandage to your ankle. This can prevent fluid buildup and promote circulation.
  • Elevation: Elevate your swollen ankle above your heart level by propping it up with pillows. The swelling can be reduced by allowing extra fluid to drain from your ankle.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation from ankle swelling. It’s essential to consult with your doctor before taking any NSAIDs, as they can have side effects and interact with other medications.

Massage Therapy

A massage therapy session Here are 4 tips for reducing ankle swelling

Massage therapy helps improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote lymphatic drainage, ‌helping your ankles feel better. Consulting with a certified massage therapist with experience dealing with ankle swelling is essential to avoid further injury or discomfort.


Acupuncture is a procedure where fine needles are inserted into specific parts of your skin. It’s believed that acupuncture can help restore energy and blood flow, ‌reducing inflammation and swelling. Finding a licensed acupuncturist who can help you with your ankle swelling and has experience treating cyclists is essential.


Ankle swelling during cycling is a common problem that shouldn’t be ignored. By understanding its causes, you can take steps to prevent it from happening.

Invest in proper cycling shoes that fit well, adjust your saddle height to ensure proper bike fit, and stretch your feet and ankles before and after your cycling sessions. Then, you will enjoy cycling without having to worry about painful ankle swellings.


You can ease ankle swelling while cycling by elevating your legs, wearing compression socks, or taking breaks to stretch and stimulate your blood flow during your ride.

Yes, factors such as poor circulation, sitting for prolonged periods, and exercising in hot weather can increase your risk of developing ankle swelling.

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