Updated: Jul 6, 2020
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF LEG SWELLING?
Leg swelling generally occurs due to an underlying medical condition that disrupts the normal flow of venous blood. As a result, the blood will stagnate in the lower limbs, and veins cannot push blood towards the heart.
Leg swelling is known in the medical community as peripheral edema, which translates to the accumulation of blood in the peripheral tissues. (1) The main causes of peripheral edema can be divided into four major categories (2), depending on the organ involved:
Defective venous system
Renal disease (kidney problems)
Idiopathic (without a known cause)
HOW CAN THIS CONDITION CAUSE LEG PAIN?
The pain that results from leg swelling may have several origins, including a dangerous medical condition known as deep vein thrombosis where a blood clot is obstructing a vein (3), preventing the normal flow of blood. Another etiology (cause) is the accumulation of pro-inflammatory compounds that trigger an inflammatory response in the veins and pain.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF LEG SWELLING?
Based on the list of causes, you can probably deduce that the treatment of peripheral edema is decided on a case-to-case basis. If a patient’s leg swelling is the result of kidney damage caused by drug toxicity, the treatment in this scenario would be the interruption of that medication. On the other hand, if deep vein thrombosis is the cause, urgent medical care is of the essence. (4) The bottom line is: the treatment of peripheral edema varies greatly depending on the etiology that’s causing the swelling and associated pain.
Peripheral edema is a common medical sign that’s not easy to manage due to the diversity of causes and treatments.
However, physicians are now equipped with cutting-edge technology to test and diagnose peripheral edema, as well as provide medical and surgical treatment.
If you have any questions about leg swelling or pain, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.