What causes leg swelling?

Middle-aged woman suffering from pain in leg at home, closeup. Physical injury concept.Do you struggle with painful leg swelling? It’s not an easy thing to live with! Most commonly, it occurs after a long day of standing or sitting, but it can also pop up after exercise, while traveling, or when you’re trying to sleep. It can really impact your life. But leg swelling is more than just a painful setback to your everyday life. It’s the body’s way of signaling that something is wrong.

Serious causes of leg swelling
Leg swelling is often an indicator of a larger problem. It can signal that something is seriously wrong with your body, especially if it comes on fast. So if you suffer from leg swelling, make sure you see your primary care provider to rule out these more serious causes first.

  • Medication use: Many medications and medical therapies contribute to painful leg swelling because they cause fluid build-up in the body. The most common drugs that cause leg swelling are chemotherapy, antihypertensive, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Talk to your primary care provider if you experience fluid build-up and leg swelling while using these medications.
  • Congestive Heart Failure: Chronic leg swelling may be a warning sign that your heart is too weak to pump blood throughout your body. When this happens, fluid begins to build up in your extremities, usually in the legs. Other warning signs of heart failure or heart problems besides swelling include constantly feeling tired and having trouble breathing even when lying down. If you notice these symptoms, get checked out at an emergency medical center.
  • Kidney problems: Kidney disease can also lead to painful leg swelling. Your kidneys are supposed to be the body’s filters, removing waste and water from your blood, but when they aren’t working properly, these fluids can build up, especially in your extremities. Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys begin to shut down, and it can lead to rapid swelling in the ankles and feet. Watch out for other warning signs of kidney health issues, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, excessive thirstiness, and bruising.

These are the most serious causes of leg swelling, but they aren’t the only ones. Many other health issues can cause fluid build-up and swelling, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Acute injuries like a broken bone or swollen ankle

What vein health conditions cause leg swelling?
Leg swelling is one of the most common symptoms that patients with vein health issues experience. Typically, this type of swelling is chronic and happens day after day, especially after standing or sitting for long periods of time. When it happens, it makes walking or moving difficult. So what vein health conditions contribute to leg swelling?

  • Chronic venous insufficiency: Most vein health conditions are attributed to chronic venous insufficiency. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in your veins begin to malfunction and cannot pump the blood back up to your heart. When this happens, the blood builds up and collects along the vein wall, eventually forming blockages that turn into spider veins along the surface and varicose veins under the surface. As the blockage gets bigger, the varicose vein will begin to bulge against the skin forming a visible cluster. Swelling is often a side effect of this process, especially around the ankles.
  • Venous ulcers: A venous ulcer may develop because of untreated chronic venous insufficiency. It is an open sore that takes weeks to heal and develops on the leg, usually around the ankle or inside. It occurs when blood begins to pool in the vein and pushes against the vein wall. An ulcer leads to painful leg swelling, itching, swelling, and foul-smelling discharge from the wound. They can develop on their own or after a minor injury to the leg.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): DVT is often the next step if chronic venous insufficiency problems are left untreated. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the leg. Left untreated, the clot can travel up the lung and lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. One of the most common indicators of DVT is swelling in just one leg near the area where the blood begins to pool. If you notice just one leg consistently swelling in the same area, check it out immediately.

How can vein treatment help relieve my swelling symptoms?
As a vein treatment clinic, we’ve worked with many patients who suffer from painful leg swelling. We can help treat their venous insufficiency symptoms before they become more painful and serious health issues like a large ulcer or DVT. Here are a few treatment options to help remove problematic vein health issues and reduce swelling symptoms.

  • Compression stockings
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Microphlebectomy
  • Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA)

You don’t need to live with leg swelling
Leg swelling is a common problem, and many people think it’s just one of the side effects of getting older. But it’s much more than that. Recurrent and painful leg swelling is your body’s signal that something is wrong, most likely with your vein health. If you notice that leg swelling has become a recurring part of your life, please visit our clinic. Our doctors will examine your legs and use ultrasound technology to look for underlying vein health issues contributing to your swelling. Then they will recommend treatment to remove the issues and prevent future problems. Without treatment, vein health issues like varicose or spider veins will only worsen, leading to more serious vein health issues. Our fast and effective treatments will help you live free of painful leg swelling. If that’s what you’re looking for, give us a call today!