Leg Swelling (Edema)

Joseph M Caruso, MD, FACS

Board Certified Vascular Surgeon located in Arlington, TX

Leg Swelling Q & A

What is leg swelling?

You develop edema, leg swelling when fluid builds up in your soft tissue. In addition to making your legs look puffy, your skin may also become red or shiny.

What causes leg swelling?

You could develop leg swelling for a number of reasons. However, when it comes to your vascular health, your legs swell because fluid gets trapped in your soft tissue because of poor circulation. Some of the venous issues that lead to leg swelling include:

Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency, a condition in which faulty or weakened valves in the veins of your legs prevent efficient circulation, also causes fluid to pool in the lymph of your legs. This makes your legs swell, particularly around your calves, ankles, and feet.

Varicose veins

As with venous insufficiency, varicose veins are the ropy, blue veins that develop on your legs when your blood doesn’t flow back to your heart correctly. In addition to swelling, varicose veins also cause leg pain and fatigue.

Blood clots

When blood clots develop in the deep veins of your legs — a condition known as deep vein thrombosis — the clot can inhibit the flow of blood and other fluids out of your legs. In most cases, you’ll notice the swelling and puffiness in your calves and ankles. Your skin may also become red or warm to the touch.

When should I see a doctor for leg swelling?

If you have leg swelling that’s accompanied by chest pain or troubled breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. However, even if you don’t have other symptoms, you should still make an appointment for medical attention with a vascular expert like Dr. Caruso. Leg swelling is a common sign of vascular health issues as well as other serious health conditions.

If you have to wait for a day or so for your appointment, you can manage your swelling by keeping your feet elevated when you’re sitting or laying down and wearing compression stockings. If you need to spend a lot of time on your feet, take frequent breaks to sit or walk around.

How is leg swelling treated?

Dr. Caruso offers customized treatments to reduce the swelling in your legs and improve your vascular health. He performs both traditional and minimally invasive surgeries to address issues like venous insufficiency and peripheral artery disease as well as a variety of treatments to remove varicose veins.

If you have swollen legs, call or make an appointment online today to get expert care from Dr. Caruso.