The Most Common Causes of Leg Swelling

If you’ve ever noticed swelling in your legs, arms, hands, or feet upon waking or throughout the day, it may seem to come out of nowhere and be quite alarming. 

Although common, leg swelling can range from mild to severe, depending on the underlying cause. 

Often associated with edema (fluid retention), leg swelling affects thousands of people each year. Aside from edema, inflammation due to an injury or illness may cause new and confusing puffiness, especially if it’s tied to a recent injury, surgery, or allergic reaction.

It is important to note that minor leg swelling differs from edema. General swelling is the abnormal enlargement of any body part, but edema is the swelling of tissue around a specific joint. For most with chronic swelling, edema is the cause. 

In many instances, swelling is due to injury, illness, or an allergic reaction and often goes away on its own after proper diagnosis and care at home. 

In some cases, more severe swelling, or edema, is associated with a more serious condition, such as congestive heart failure, which may require immediate attention for a more thorough evaluation. This is especially urgent if you have heart failure and have gained more than five pounds in a week.

Although a venous condition is not always the root cause of edema, leg swelling is a known symptom of venous insufficiency.

Let’s discuss the most common causes of leg swelling in more detail. 

The Most Common Causes of Leg Swelling

There are various lifestyle factors and underlying causes that can lead to leg swelling and edema, including

  • venous insufficiency
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • heart failure
  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • thyroid disorders
  • deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • allergic reactions
  • leg injury
  • certain medications
  • cancers
  • infection
  • pregnancy
  • preeclampsia
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • sitting or standing for long periods
  • previous radiation or chemotherapy treatments

Leg Swelling Complications

If left untreated, depending on the underlying cause, leg swelling can lead to:

  • worsening swelling
  • decreased mobility
  • overly stretched skin
  • extreme itchiness
  • decreased blood circulation

It is important to note that if the cause of leg swelling is an underlying, serious health condition, complications from the disorder may also worsen. That is why getting a professional diagnosis is vital when living with chronic lower limb swelling.

Comprehensive Diagnosis and Treatment for Leg Swelling in North Carolina

If you or a loved one is living with leg swelling related to edema, venous insufficiency, or another vascular condition, we are here to help. 

Don’t delay care! It’s time to treat your swollen legs today. The board-certified vein experts at Carolina Vein Specialists, now a part of the Center for Vein Restoration, offer minimally invasive, state-of-the-art vein treatment options that will restore your comfort with little to no downtime.

Our experienced North Carolina team specializes in personalized treatment plans based on your unique health and wellness needs. Call 336-536-6522 to schedule a consultation today.

Most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, is accepted.