There are many reasons your legs could look puffy and swollen. Many are benign reasons that can easily be fixed simply by altering lifestyle habits or your diet. However, there are times when leg swelling is a sign of a much more serious condition.
At Apex Endovascular, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Dr. Shawn Ahmed provides vascular health support and interventional vascular care to prevent life-threatening conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Your legs could be swollen simply because of a previous injury or your lifestyle habits.
Inflammation from an injury to a joint, tendon, or muscle can cause swelling. If you sprained your ankle or tore your ACL, you might end up with a swollen leg on that side. This is a sign that the swelling is injury-related.
The best way to combat this is to lie down on your back and elevate the leg so it’s higher than your heart. Icing as recommended by your doctor can also help relieve swelling due to inflammation. So can anti-inflammatories prescribed or recommended by your physician.
Fluid retention, or edema, can be caused by many different issues. You might see your legs and ankles swell during pregnancy, or if you work a job where you have to sit for long periods of time. You might even see edema if you have a very salty diet, as your body may retain water.
In most cases, after a night of lying down, the edema recedes. You can try to prevent edema by wearing compression stockings during pregnancy, standing up and moving around periodically at work, or limiting your salt intake.
A more serious reason that your legs might be swelling is venous insufficiency. Little valves inside the veins in your legs keep blood flowing in a single direction: back to your heart. When these valves fail, blood pools up in the veins. You might see spider veins or varicose veins show up in your legs.
If left unaddressed, venous insufficiency can lead to a very serious condition called deep vein thrombosis, in which pooled blood forms a clot in one of the larger veins in the leg. If the clot breaks free and begins traveling through the body, it’s called an embolism. The embolism can end up in the heart, brain, or lungs, causing a serious or even fatal health event.
Signs that you may have DVT is a leg that isn’t just severely swollen, but is also red and warm to the touch. Dr. Ahmed can perform a minimally invasive procedure to deal with the clot and prevent an embolism.
If you have swelling in both legs, but no redness or heat, you might be having circulation issues due to venous insufficiency. If you have visible varicose veins, this is even more likely. Dr. Ahmed can also treat varicose veins with a minimally invasive procedure.
Worried about swelling in your legs? Give us a call at 970-508-8439, or book a consultation online today.