Swollen legs can have several causes, especially if you are over 50 years old. You could probably have an underlying condition associated with it. Knowing the cause is essential to determine the further course of action.
Deerfield Beach, FL board certified cardiologist and the medical team offer effective diagnostic testing to determine the root cause of swollen legs. This is crucial for the early detection of underlying health issues that require medical attention.
Causes of swollen legs
Swelling in your lower legs can result from one of two reasons:
- Excess fluid in your body can get trapped in your body’s tissues, which causes swelling and puffiness directly under your skin in your feet, ankles, and legs.
- Swelling in the legs can be a result of your body’s response to any injury or infection.
- Some medical conditions causing an inflammatory response include:
- Knee bursitis
- Ligament or cartilage injuries
Other causes include:
- Blood clots
- Circulatory dysfunction leading to heart disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Kidney or liver disease
- Certain medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), hormone medications, and antidepressants
Warning signs to seek medical help
Swollen legs can indicate a serious medical cause, thus it is essential to schedule a vein evaluation as soon as possible. Watch out for the following alarming signs accompanied by swollen legs:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Breathing difficulties
- Mental confusion
- Leg ulcers
- Inability to walk
- Coughing up blood
General signs of swollen legs
- The skin over your swollen legs looks stretched and shiny
- Skin warmth and tenderness
- Skin discoloration
- Mild pain or soreness in your swollen legs
Diagnostic tools to evaluate swollen legs
To determine the cause of swollen legs, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and review your medical and family history. Furthermore, your doctor will perform a physical examination.
You may be advised of additional diagnostic tests such as:
- Blood tests to detect infections
- Ultrasound scans
Treatment modalities for swollen legs
Treatment for swollen legs depends on the cause and the severity of the symptoms.
- Leg elevation
- Compression stockings
- Dietary changes
- Reduce salt intake
- Regular exercise
- Increase the water intake
- Soak feet in cool water
- Opt for supportive footcare
- Do not stand or sit for long periods of time; take breaks and move around
- Quit smoking
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Diuretics to flush out excess fluids
- Blood thinners to prevent blood clots
- Sclerotherapy: Injecting chemical solutions to treat chronic venous insufficiency.
Swollen legs can be common due to injury, inflammation, or infection. However, there could be other underlying medical issues that need to be addressed promptly.