Swelling in the leg, also known as edema, can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, pregnancy, certain medical conditions such as heart or kidney disease, and prolonged standing or sitting.
If the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, redness, warmth, or difficulty breathing, it may be indicative of a more serious condition and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
In the meantime, elevation of the affected leg and the use of compression stockings can help reduce the swelling, chaktty advised.
Causes of Edema
Swelling can occur in any part of your legs, including feet, ankles, calves or thighs, according to Dr. Chaktty.
The swelling may result from fluid buildup or from inflammation in injured or diseased tissue or joints.
Many causes of leg swelling are relatively not harmless in the long term but sometimes, the condition may be a sign of more serious disorder such as blood clots.
Some generalizations that may help you determine the cause of leg swelling include: swelling in only one leg is more likely related to a condition in that leg alone.
Swelling in both legs is more LIKELY causer by a condition not directly related to the legs, such as prolonged standing or sitting.
Leg swelling usually isn’t the only sign of a serious disorder. For example, leg swelling related to heart disease is likely to occur along with shortness of breath or chest pain.
Leg swelling from a blood clot usually appears suddenly and for no obvious reason.
The clots often cause an aching pain deep in the calf or inner thigh. The leg may also be cool and pale.
Treatment of Leg swelling or edema
To help prevent or remedy occasional leg swelling: Lose weight and limit your salt intake.
Elevate your legs to a level above your heart for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours to let gravity help move fluid toward your heart, according to healthpally.
During periods of prolonged sitting and travel, try to walk around frequently and stretch your legs.
Consider using compression stockings, especially when you’re on your feet for long periods of time or while traveling on an airplane.
Treatment for leg swelling (edema) depends on the underlying cause. Here are a few general steps that may help:
- Elevate the affected limb(s) to reduce blood flow to the area and decrease swelling.
- Apply compression stockings or bandages to the affected limb(s) to help reduce swelling.
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
- Maintain a healthy diet that is low in salt to help reduce water retention.
- Avoid prolonged standing or sitting, which can cause blood to pool in the legs.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to alleviate any discomfort caused by the swelling.
In case of severe swelling, you should consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis, as the cause of swelling might be a serious condition, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or heart failure.
Your doctor may also prescribe diuretic medications or suggest other treatments to help reduce swelling.
Swelling in your legs can be a sign of a more serious condition, seek medical care immediately if you have unexplained, painful swelling in your legs or if a swollen leg becomes warm, red and inflamed. Also, see your doctor if the swelling remains despite self-care.
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