What's Making My Legs Swell?

Perhaps both of your lower legs swell, or maybe it happens to only one leg. No matter the location in your lower extremities, swelling could be a sign of a vascular issue, which is why you should heed the warning.

At VeinMedic, as our name implies, we specialize in vascular health, and we understand the issues that can lead to swelling in your lower limbs. Under the guidance of board-certified vascular surgeon Dr. Michael Kassouf and our team at any of our four New York City offices can help you identify the problem and take the necessary steps toward resolving the issue.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the more common culprits behind leg swelling, especially when it comes to your vascular health.

When edema is normal

Edema is the technical term for swelling in your legs, and it’s not necessarily cause for concern. For example, if you’re pregnant, swelling in your feet, ankles, and around your calves is perfectly normal. As well, if you’ve been sitting for long periods, fluid may build up in your lower limbs, and a little movement and elevation usually can resolve the problem.

Please note that if you’ve twisted your ankle, that doesn’t fall under edema, as the swelling is inflammation, which is your body’s way of protecting the injury.

Where we sit up and take notice is persistent swelling with no obvious cause.

More serious causes of leg swelling

The blood vessels in your legs work the hardest, especially your veins, as they have to fight both distance and gravity to circulate blood back to your heart. 

One cause of leg swelling is obesity, which places more pressure on these blood vessels, hampering their ability to circulate blood properly.

If the swelling occurs in just one leg, it may be a sign of deep vein thrombosis, which typically develops in your pelvis, thigh, or lower leg. A thrombosis is a blood clot that can restrict your blood flow. The threat is that this clot can break free and travel to your lungs. Along with the swelling, you may feel some pain in the area of the clot, as well as enlarged veins that rise to the surface of your skin. This condition requires prompt medical attention, so you should come see us if your symptoms match what we describe above.

Another cause of swelling in your legs is venous insufficiency. To help your blood flow back to your heart, your veins are equipped with tiny valves that shut off as your blood passes through, preventing it from spilling backward. If these valves weaken or malfunction, it can lead to spider veins and varicose veins, as well as swelling.

Leg swelling may also be a sign of heart, liver, or kidney disease, which is why we urge you to come see us sooner rather than later. After an extensive evaluation, we set you on the right path to remedy the swelling, as well as the underlying issue.

To get started, please contact one of our four New York City-area locations in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge, Manhattan's Washington Heights, Elmhurst in Queens, or Mount Hope in the Bronx.




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