LEG EDEMA (SWELLING)

What Causes Leg Edema?

Leg swelling can be caused my multiple conditions including congestive heart failure, blood clots, pregnancy, medication, chronic venous insufficiency, poor lymphatic drainage, and prolonged sedentary states.  Often patients are asymptomatic and become concerned they may have a potential blood clot in their legs. 

What are the Signs/ Symptoms Seen with Leg Swelling?

  • Swelling beneath the skin, which may leave an indentation when pressed

  • Leg pain

  • Stretched or shiny skin

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Fluid blisters or weeping lesions

What Diagnostic Tests are Usually Performed with Leg Swelling?

To identify the source of swelling, your doctor may perform:

What are Some Treatment Options for Leg Swelling?

Treatment of leg swelling depends on the underlying condition.  Often leg elevation, compression wraps and diuretics are used to reduce the swelling rapidly and alleviate symptoms.  If a blood clot is identified, blood thinners are often used to dissolve the clot.  Removing any offending agents that contribute to leg swelling also improve the condition.  If leg swelling is secondary to heart failure, further cardiac treatments are likely necessary. 

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