Leg Swelling

Leg swelling is not a disease in and of itself, though it can be a sign of a serious underlying medical problem.

What causes leg swelling?

Leg swelling can be caused by medication or pregnancy, but it can also occur as a symptom of an underlying condition such as heart disease, kidney disease or a blood clot. Congestive heart failure and deep vein thrombosis are two common conditions that may lead to leg swelling.

Signs and symptoms of leg swelling

If you experience leg swelling, you may also notice the following signs and /or symptoms:

  • Swelling or puffiness right under the skin
  • Stretched or shiny skin
  • Leg pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Chest pain and shortness of breath can signal a dangerous underlying condition. Seek emergency medical treatment right away if you experience either of these symptoms.

How is leg swelling diagnosed?

To look for an underlying cause of your leg swelling, your doctor will give you a physical exam and may also use the following tests:

How is leg swelling treated?

Treatment for leg swelling depends on what is causing it. You may need to adjust your medication or take medicines that help your body eliminate excess fluid. If a condition such as heart failure is causing leg swelling, you may need a medical procedure or medication to manage it.