A painless swollen foot is a common occurrence. Though the swelling is painless, a swollen leg is not something to ignore, especially if you have an existing health condition like liver or kidney infection. Your Tinley Park, IL general surgeon Sanjeev Pradhan asserts that you should not hesitate to seek professional help when you start to experience symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and tightness in your chest when you have swollen legs. However, if the swelling results from minor injuries or lifestyle habits, your doctor may suggest home treatments. The medical expert might also opt to address a particular medical condition if it is the root cause of your leg swelling.
What are the common causes of leg swelling?
Various potential causes including your lifestyle, significantly contribute to leg swelling. In several instances, your legs will swell because of lifestyle factors like:
- Overweight. Your excess weight will likely decrease blood circulation, causing fluid build-up in your ankles, feet, and legs.
- Sitting or standing for extended hours. Your muscles will find it hard to pump blood and other body fluids back to your heart when your muscles are inactive. As a result, the retention of your body fluids will cause your legs to swell.
Besides your lifestyle, your legs may also swell because of medications like:
- Particular antidepressants
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Testosterone and estrogen
When should you contact your doctor about leg swelling?
Though sometimes leg, ankle, and foot swelling might not be a point of concern, sometimes the swelling can indicate something severe. Thus, you should know issues that might warrant a trip to a professional for help. For instance, you should not hesitate to seek medical help when:
- The swelling continues to worsen
- The affected parts feel warm
- You have a liver infection and still experiencing leg swelling
- You have an increased body temperature
- You have tried conservative therapies to no success
- You are pregnant and have a sudden severe swelling
- You have a heart or kidney infection and have leg swelling
Leg swelling resulting from fluid retention, also referred to as peripheral edema, results from issues with your venous circulation system, kidneys or lymphatic system is usually not painful unless they result from injuries.
How can you address leg swelling at home?
There are particular things your healthcare will advise you to do if your legs swell regularly to help ease your symptoms at home. They include:
- Elevate your legs to a position above your heart when you are lying down
- Get active and do exercises that focus on moving and stretching your legs
- Minimize your salt intake to lessen fluid build-up levels in your legs
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Move around, especially if you sit or stand still for extended hours
- Avoid wearing restrictive clothing around your thighs
- Wear compression socks
- Wear wide and comfortable low-heel shoes with comfortable soles
There is less you can do to prevent your legs from swelling. However, there are steps you can take to slow down the process before it advances. For instance, your physician may advise you to exercise regularly to enhance your circulation and move around periodically, especially if you sit or stand for prolonged periods. Contact your doctor to know more about leg swelling.