If one or both of your legs is swollen, it could be due to a variety of reasons. You can have leg swelling also due to fluid buildup simply from being overweight, sitting or standing for long, or being inactive. Fluid buildup happens when the vessels in your legs hold more fluid than they should. Leg swelling can occur due to the following reasons:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the leg
- Lymphedema (blockages in the lymphatic system)
- Hormone therapy
- Acute kidney failure
- Varicose veins (valves in legs malfunction and keep the blood from flowing upward to the heart)
- Pain relievers
- Thrombophlebitis (clots form closer to the surface of skin and aren’t likely to break off)
- Heart failure
- Pulmonary embolism (clot in the leg breaks off and travels to the lungs that can be life- threatening)
- Cirrhosis (severe scarring of the liver)
- Venous insufficiency (Veins in the legs are unable to pump blood adequately)
- Prescription medications including those used in diabetes, hypertension and depression
Leg Swelling Due to Inflammation
Leg swelling can also occur due to inflammation in the leg joints or tissues from an injury or disease. Leg inflammation may occur due to many reasons, such as:
- Sprained ankle
- Inflammation in knee joint
- Broken ankle or foot
- Inflammatory joint disease (Rheumatoid arthritis)
- Skin infection (cellulitis)
Your legs may also get swollen due to a condition known as peripheral edema in which small blood vessels in your legs leak fluid into the nearby tissue, causing swelling. This could happen due to problems with your circulatory system, lymph nodes, heart muscles, kidneys or liver.
Home Remedies to Reduce Leg Swelling
To reduce swelling you should elevate your legs. You may want to keep a pillow under your legs to feel comfortable. Stay active and avoid wearing restrictive clothing around your thighs, such as garters. Reduce your salt intake, maintain healthy body weight and stand up or move around at least once every hour, do not sit in the same position for long.
In some people, swelling can cause the skin to seep and cause the further breakdown. Swelling may exhibit mild symptom initially, such as heaviness in the legs and a warm feeling, then moderate symptoms such as discomfort while in motion and skin changes may develop. It may then progress to severe symptoms such as fluid spreads, chronic pain and difficulty in walking.
PAD and Complications
PAD is one of the leading causes of leg swelling. It occurs due to fat deposits or plaque accumulation on the leg artery walls that creates obstruction to the smooth blood flow. Over time, the clot may grow to the extent that it may completely block the blood flow. Gangrene is a severe complication of PAD which is characterized by complete blockage in the leg artery. This results in tissue death and the affected leg portion may have to be surgically cut and removed by the doctor to prevent further infection.
When to See a Doctor?
See a doctor if:
- You have kidney, heart or liver disease and are experiencing leg swelling
- You are pregnant and experiencing sudden or severe swelling
- Your swelling is getting worse
- You haven’t been successful with home remedies
- Your one leg suddenly becomes swollen,
- You have cramping pain in the leg that doesn’t go even at rest
- You have ulcers in feet that do not heal easily
Non-Surgical PAD Treatment
At USA Vascular Centers, we provide non-surgical PAD treatment through balloon angioplasty. Once PAD is diagnosed, the doctor will use a catheter to find the location and size of your blockage. For this, our interventional radiologist will insert a catheter (small thin tube) through a small nick in your groin. The area around the nick will be numbed so that you do not feel any pain. The catheter will have a camera and a non-harming dye will be released with its help in your bloodstream that will help the doctor see the location and extent of blockage on a big screen.
Thereafter, the doctor will advance a balloon-tipped catheter with a guide wire and a stent (wire scaffold) over it. On reaching the blockage, the balloon will be expanded that will implant the stent at the site of the blockage. Thereafter, the stent, guide-wire and balloon will be taken out from your system, leaving the stent in place to ensure proper blood flow after your treatment.
Treatment at USA Vascular Centers
If you have swollen legs and think it may be due to PAD, give us a call to set up a consultation. We have a team of vascular experts at various locations nationwide that can help you find relief from painful symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you through the use of stent angioplasty, give us a call at 888-773-2193.