Leg swelling is very common. It is caused by the retention of fluid or an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the lower extremity. It is called peripheral edema. It is also caused due to fluid buildup from being overweight, being inactive, after sitting or standing for a long time or wearing tight stockings. Many people are relating leg swelling with heart disease but it is not 100 percent correct. Yes, heart disease could be a reason but only heart disease is not responsible for that. It can be caused by a problem with the circulatory system, the lymphatic system or the kidneys.
Most of the time, it is noticeable that swelling started from the ankles but it can be spread in lower extremities. More serious cases can cause what’s known as pitting edema: if you press a finger into the swollen area, it briefly leaves an indentation or pit.
Symptoms that can be associated with leg swelling include:
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
- Ulceration of the skin
- Leg Vein Obstruction
- Nephrotic Syndrome
Causes a swollen leg:
- Fluid buildup (edema): If you stand for a long time or sit for too long then the tissues or blood vessels in your legs hold more fluid than they should. It causes swelling in legs. If you are overweight or not doing any physical exercise then also you will suffer from swelling in legs or ankles. It can be caused by a problem with the circulatory system, the lymphatic system or the kidneys.
- Inflammation: It happens when the tissues or blood vessels in your legs get irritated and swollen. It’s a natural response if you break a bone or tear a tendon or ligament, but it also may be a sign of a more serious inflammatory illness, like arthritis.
- Weakness in veins: Due to age factor, the strength of veins going weaken and the result is swelling legs. It is known as venous insufficiency. It occurs when the walls of the veins deep inside the legs weaken, and the one-way valves that help propel blood back to the heart are damaged. As a result, some blood flows backward and the veins stay filled with blood. People who’ve had blood clots in their legs and women who’ve been pregnant are more prone to this problem.
- Heart problems: If your heart is not able to pump blood properly to your body needs, it leads to fluid buildup especially in legs. You may also feel out of breath, and this can be worse when lying down flat at night or on walking.
- Anemia: If your Red Blood Cells (RBC) is very less in your blood, your leg will be swollen.
- Kidney problem: Due to kidney problems also, you will suffer from leg swollen. The kidney problem could be a nephrotic syndrome, acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease.
- Low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism):This is normally accompanied by other symptoms such as tiredness and gaining weight.
Treatment of swollen legs or ankle:
When you noticed your swollen legs or ankle, you should consult your doctor and start some home remedies also as this condition is not serious initially. You will definitely get some relief and in the meantime, you can take some medication also.
Home Care in swollen legs:
Home care is not cost you a single penny so start as early as possible after noticing the symptoms. It is a R.I.C.E. steps.
- Rest: Take proper rest and avoid walking and standing. If still you are not comfortable, consult your doctor.
- Ice: Put ice on the swollen area for 15 to 20 minutes. If will give you relief immediately and repeat it every three to four hours.
- Compression: Wrap your leg or ankle snugly not tight and make sure your blood circulation not be affect. Support stockings may be an option.
- Elevation: Use a pillow under your leg, the fluid will move away from your leg and you will feel relax immediately. You can use two pillows also. Your legs position will be higher than your heart.
If still, you are not getting relief, contact your doctor and start your medication. And remember to avoid any physical labor. Do not walk too much and do not stand for a long time. Take proper rest and once you feel good, start your daily work routine.