Leg swelling is a common medical issue experienced by millions of people around the world. You might experience puffiness in your legs due to overworking, over-exercising or doing anything too much or too rigid. There might be several different reasons for swelling (also known as oedema) in your legs. Some people experience it due to fluid build-up in their legs. On the other hand, it could be due to sitting in your car or a plane for a long time.
Another common reason for oedema or leg swelling can be weight issues. If the woman is pregnant, it will exert much weight and pressure on the legs, inducing swelling. There are several preventive techniques you can adopt to steer clear of swelling. These include limiting salt in your diet, doing ample warm-up and stretches before continuing with your workout. But if you have mild swelling, you should consider taking a walk to get the circulation going again. You could also elevate your ankles with the help of a pillow or perform some foot exercises like ankle rolls which will help alleviate the swelling.
If your legs are swelling up for no obvious reason, to the point of you not having any sensation, it would be best if you consulted with a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. It could be due to a more severe medical condition.
The primary cause of leg swelling or oedema is the atypical aggregation of fluids in the lower extreme tissues. The appropriate medical terminology for this condition (accumulation of fluids in your leg tissues) is peripheral oedema. There is another term, pitting oedema. It is a condition in which when you put your finger on the swollen leg, and it will leave an indentation. A few of the common signs and symptoms of leg swelling are as follows:
- Lack of sensation
- Having difficulty breathing (also known as Dyspnea)
- An obvious pain in the leg
- Redness of skin
- Skin rashes
- Breakage or ulceration on the skin
Several other medical conditions can induce leg swelling. But they might accompany other symptoms in case the patient is suffering from a heart condition or blood clot in their lungs:
- Difficulty breathing (or Dyspnea)
- Dizziness due to fatigue
- Chest pain
- Feeling too exerted in performing usual routine
- Blood in the cough
You might want to consult with the doctor immediately if the swelling is sudden and drastic due to no apparent reason. For example, if you feel like your skin is getting pale, along with excruciating pain due to an injury from a sport or an accident, consulting with a doctor on an urgent basis would be helpful.
The swelling in your legs is why your pants are tight, or the socks are snug. Here are a few reasons behind that:
- Inflammation: Tearing a ligament or tendon or breaking a bone can influence the tissues in your leg to get agitated, making your leg swell up. But it can also happen as your body’s natural defence to an inflammatory orthopaedic medical condition like arthritis.
- Oedema: Edema is the swelling in the leg caused due to the overaccumulation of fluids in the blood vessels and tissues. It is a medical condition that might occur if you stay on your feet for too long. It might also happen due to weight issues and pressure exerted due to them. It could also be a sign of certain more severe medical conditions.
The swelling in your legs could be due to any of these two reasons. Although arthritis, ligament tear due to an injury and breakage of bones due to accidents and injuries are pretty common, the swelling due to fluid accumulation can happen to anyone just as quickly.
Here are a few medical conditions and other factors that might cause the fluid to accumulate in the blood vessels and tissues:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Having a blood clot in the blood vessels of your leg would mean that you are suffering from deep vein thrombosis. It can reach your lungs, making it more life-threatening. Thrombophlebitis is a condition that can cause blood clots to form near the surface of the skin. In this condition, the blood accumulates in the leg, swelling up, making the skin blue and purple and warmed up.
- Kidney-related issues: Your kidney malfunctioning may lead to certain persistent kidney-related problems. Instead of waste materials getting out of your body, they start accumulating with the fluids in the blood vessels and tissues in the legs. A few of the symptoms related to leg swelling caused by kidney-related issues include Dyspnea (difficulty breathing), feeling thirsty all the time, fatigue, queasiness, bleeding and bruising, etc.
- Varicose Veins: When the blood flow to your heart assisted by the valves inside your legs is not regular, it leads to varicose veins. The blood accumulates in pools, causing a bluish tint on your skin. It will also swell up your legs, along with a few other symptoms. These include skin colour changing to reddish-blue or purple, dryness, irritations, cracks, sores and prolonged pain.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the baby in its third trimester often exerts too much pressure on the veins in a woman’s leg. That hinders the blood circulation leading to fluid build-up, causing your legs to swell up. A doctor consultation will be the best option if you are experiencing swollen legs due to pregnancy, as they might indicate preeclampsia. A few of the symptoms of this condition include severe headache, swelling around the eyes and blurry vision. Another reason for consulting your doctor in case of these symptoms during pregnancy is the risk of peripartum cardiomyopathy.
- Medications: As with so many other medical conditions, medications can induce side effects that might include swelling in the legs. A few of these medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and calcium channel blockers (heart medications).
A few of the factors that might induce swelling in the legs due to inflammation include:
- Injuries: An injury could lead to breakage of bones or ligament or tendon tear, which might lead to the body’s natural defence system causing swelling in the legs. A few of the common injuries that might cause swollen legs to include:
- Cellulitis: It happens due to two bacterias, namely staphylococcus and streptococcus. The symptoms involve warm and tender skin with blisters and red spots, severe pain, redness and dimples in the affected area.
- Achilles Tendon Rupture: It is the body’s largest tendon connecting the heel bone to your calf muscle. A tear in this tendon causes a sharp pain accompanied by swelling in the legs and the inability to walk properly.
- ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Tear: ACL is a ligament that runs across your knee, holding the bones in your leg in shape. It can be extremely painful and cause swelling in the leg.
- Infection Due To Wound: When you suffer from an injury that causes a wound or laceration, the body’s defence system pushes the white blood cells along with the other fluids to the affected area. It results in swelling.
- Arthritis: Arthritis, also known as joint disease, is one of the most frequent medical conditions globally. According to experts, more than 100 types of arthritis exist. Although there is no age, gender or race associated with this condition, it is most frequently seen in women and people of old age. Here are a few types of arthritis that may lead to swelling in the legs:
- Knee bursitis: Bursa plays a cushion between the bone and muscle. Inflammation in the bursa may cause knee bursitis that could lead to swelling in the legs.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints in your legs, inducing swelling in the legs.
- Gout: The uric acid causes a sudden attack in your joints, leading to swollen legs.
- Osteoarthritis: It is a medical condition that happens due to wear and tear, resulting in oedema.
You could experience swelling in your legs due to any of the causes mentioned above. But the precise reason for your afflictions will only be known after a consultation with your doctor.
A proper diagnosis helps the doctor determine the root cause of the swelling in your legs, which will help provide you with suitable treatment for the affliction. However, it could be due to a more severe medical condition, so consult with a doctor as soon as possible, and follow the instructions properly.
Here are a few instructions that you might want to follow:
- Limit your salt intake.
- Elevate your legs with the help of a pillow. It will help ease up the fluid accumulation to reduce the swelling.
- Wear compression bands that will help regulate the blood flow. But don’t wear them too tight.
- Give yourself little breaks between prolonged standing or sitting. If you feel pain, check with your doctor.
- Follow your doctor’s prescription properly, and do not forget to take any doses unless recommended otherwise.
- Take the over-the-counter pain killer medications only upon your doctor’s prescription.
The doctor follows a specific procedure for diagnosing the swelling in your legs. Here are a few steps that involve the diagnostic procedure:
- Firstly, the doctor will conduct a routine medical check-up, in which they will ask you about your condition, the extent of it and how long you have had it.
- Then, they will ask you about your medical history, which involves enquiring about any prior medical conditions that might be causing it. Also, you might have to inform them about any prescribed medications and body supplements you are taking.
- After that, there will be diagnostic tests, including X-rays, imaging tests like CT-Scan and MRIs, ultrasound tests, blood tests, urine analysis, etc. If these tests might not provide you with the root cause, they will at least help the doctor rule out any other possible reasons for the swelling.
So consult with your doctor at the earliest to diagnose the cause of swelling in your legs. It will prevent the risk of any other complications.
There are several reasons for your legs to get swollen. But the primary causes include injuries, arthritis, ACL tear, Achilles tendon tear, side effects due to medications like calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, etc., varicose veins, DVT, pregnancy, kidney-related issues, trauma, lymphedema, heart disease, infections, liver problems, tumour, etc.
Homeopathy is an alternative medical science that helps treat an illness with the help of natural remedies made with the use of plants and natural substances. The practitioner provides the treatments based on the patient’s age, gender, the extent of their disease, cause, etc. For example, homeopathy can help you with the swelling in your ankles and legs due to injury, sprain, arthritis, etc.
So consult with your doctor if you want to know more about what is causing your legs to get swollen. They will also help you with the best treatment and preventive remedies for the affliction. In addition, a quicker diagnosis will help you steer clear of any further complications.