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Leg Swelling

Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care

Pain Management Physicians & Vein Specialists located across Northwest Indiana

Leg swelling is often due to fluid buildup (edema) but might be a more serious problem like a severe sprain or deep vein thrombosis. If you're experiencing leg pain, the Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care team can help. At their offices in Hobart, LaPorte, Munster, Valparaiso, and Highland, Indiana, the vein care and pain management experts can diagnose and treat your leg pain. Call the Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care office nearest you today for more information or book an appointment using the online form.

Leg Swelling Q & A

What causes leg swelling?

Leg swelling can occur if you injure your leg; for example, a sprain or fracture often causes swelling around the damaged area. Infections and deep vein thrombosis (DVT – a blood clot in a deep leg vein) can also cause leg swelling.

The most common cause of leg swelling is edema, a buildup of fluid in your body's tissues. Edema typically causes painless swelling that affects both legs, whereas other causes of leg swelling tend to affect one leg and cause varying degrees of pain.

Painless leg swelling is often a result of:

  • The aging process
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Long periods of standing
  • Long-distance travel
  • Pregnancy
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Lymphedema
  • Chronic venous insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency affects the ability of your legs to get blood back to your heart. It's one of the main causes of varicose veins.

Certain medications, including birth control pills, steroids, calcium channel blockers, and both tricyclic and MAO inhibitor antidepressants, might cause side effects that include leg swelling.

Do I need to worry about leg swelling?

While most causes of leg swelling aren't life-threatening, some are, such as heart or kidney failure. A DVT in your leg presents a serious threat too, as it could break off and travel to your lungs, causing a potentially life-threatening blockage called a pulmonary embolism.

If you're feeling pain or tightness in your chest or having problems breathing, it's best to get emergency medical attention. The team can treat non-emergency leg swelling after diagnosing the cause of your symptoms.

How is leg swelling treated?

Diagnosing the cause of your leg swelling is key to getting the right treatment. Musculoskeletal injuries like sprains and strains typically benefit from ice, strapping, and rest, while a DVT requires the swift use of clot-busting drugs (thrombolysis) to break up the clot before it moves.

Painless leg swelling and conditions like chronic venous insufficiency are likely to benefit from self-care remedies. Raising your legs so they're above your heart while lying down can help with blood flow problems, as can exercising regularly.

Your diet can help too. Cut down your salt intake if you're prone to edema, and losing weight is essential to decrease your risk of leg swelling.

Support hose makes it easier for your leg veins to get blood back up your legs. However, you shouldn't wear any tight bands or socks that can cut off circulation. Avoid standing or sitting for hours on end, too.

The vein care team can also help with treatments like VenaSeal™ vein glue, Varithena® foam sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation, and phlebectomy to treat varicose veins from chronic venous insufficiency.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of leg swelling, call the Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care today or book an appointment online.