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Why swelling of the legs: signs, causes and treatment of puffiness

Ayak-sismesi This symptom, like edema on the feet, is known, perhaps, to everyone.Long standing in one place or walking, heat - these are innocuous causes of their occurrence.However, they may be a consequence of serious diseases.

Contents: Why do legs swell?Chronic Renal Failure Heart Failure Vein Diseases Pathology of the Lymphatic System Diseases of bones and joints Inflammatory diseases of the soft tissues of the legs, trauma Other diseases and conditions causing foot swelling

Why swelling of the legs?

Despite all the variety of diseases and conditions that lead to the onset of edema of the legs, they can all be reduced to one main reason - excess fluid outflow from the vessels into the tissue due to stagnation. And this stasis arises when:

  • kidney disease;
  • cardiac pathology;
  • diseases of the veins of the lower limbs;
  • lesions of lymphatic vessels;
  • diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
  • infections affecting the soft tissues of the legs;
  • endocrine disorders.

However, there are also so-called hydrostatic edema that occur in perfectly healthy people after a long standing on a single-place or long walk.They pass without leaving a trace during rest and are not a sign of any disease.

Chronic renal failure

In this pathology, swelling occurs only in the last - terminal stage.At this stage, the kidneys completely lose their ability to maintain the water-salt balance.Because of this, the fluid can not be retained in the blood vessels and leaves them, passing into the tissues.

The swelling is more pronounced in the morning hours.They are always symmetrically expressed on both legs, their appearance precedes the swelling of the face, neck.That is, the symptom builds up from the top down.


No one deals with the treatment of edema in renal patients.It is important here to remove from the bloodstream metabolic products, which the kidneys can not take out on their own. To do this, various methods of blood purification are used:

  • hemodialysis;
  • peritoneal dialysis;
  • hemosorption.


At the same time, a disease that causes renal failure is treated:

  • pyelonephritis;
  • urolithiasis;
  • glomerulonephritis;
  • amyloidosis of the kidneys, etc.

With careful treatment of the underlying disease, its symptoms, including swelling, can disappear, although it will not be possible to completely get rid of the already arisen kidney failure.A specialist who deals with patients with renal pathology is a nephrologist.

Heart failure

HlDe4z9YmC4 In heart disease, congestion in the blood vessels is associated with inadequate contractility.The blood flows more slowly and because of this it has more time to seep through the wall of the capillaries into the tissue.Cardiac edema can be very dense, affect both limbs and somewhat weaken in the morning.

Any heart disease - arrhythmia, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, heart disease, etc., can become a cause of heart failure. Treatment will depend on what disease caused the appearance of cardiac edema.But in any case, a variety of diuretics will be included in the complex of medicines, as well as using loop diuretics( furosemide, torasemide) - medicines, replenishing potassium loss - pananginum, asparks.

In the presence of heart disease, you should consult a cardiologist.

Venous diseases

Swelling may also occur as a result of venous congestion with:

  • of varicose veins;
  • thrombosis of the veins of the lower limbs;
  • postthrombophlebitic syndrome.

At the same time they are extremely dense and very sturdy.Bilateral lesion of the legs is relatively rare.Usually, one of the legs is swollen, but with both lower extremities affected, the swelling of one of the lower extremities is much more pronounced.


Edemas become more severe if the person is in a vertical position for a relatively long time( several hours).Most clearly they are revealed in the area of ​​the ankles.When taking a horizontal position, due to increased outflow of blood from the legs, edema may somewhat subside, although they never completely disappear.


Venous diseases are handled by a specialist phlebologist.However, there is not always an opportunity to get to him and then you should contact a surgeon. In the treatment of venous edema, several methods are used at once:

  1. Compression.A variety of elastic bandages or special knitwear( tights, golfs, etc.) are used. The use of compression methods is the basis of anti-edematous treatment, because with their help it is possible to achieve and slow down the progression of venous stasis.In terms of preventing edema of this type, bandaging the legs or wearing compression knitwear is in the first place.
  2. Drug therapy using:
    • preparations that improve the condition of the walls of veins;
    • preparations, blood thinning.
  3. Surgical treatment of the underlying disease.The most important for varicose veins, in which the affected vessel is completely removed.
  4. Therapeutic physical training.Exactly metered loads on the lower limbs can somewhat reduce both the severity of edema and the intensity of the disease itself.

Of course, in the treatment of diseases of the veins, it is strictly unacceptable to use the advice of friends, relatives or Internet sites.The result of a negligent attitude towards one's health can be the development of complications leading to disability and even death of the patient.

Pathology of the lymphatic system

Image 2329 With some diseases of the lymphatic system, the development of so-called lymphedema or lymphostasis is possible.This type of edema is characterized by high density and resistance to any medical manipulation.Most often it develops after surgery for cancer, although it may be a consequence of congenital disorders of the lymphatic system, and complication of certain infections, for example, erysipelas.In the latter case, edema gradually disappears with the treatment of erysipelas.

Treatment of

Although lymphedema is poorly treatable, several methods have been developed to reduce its manifestations. For this use:

  • manual drainage - the raised limb is squeezed out by pressing movements towards the heart;
  • bandaging with elastic bandages;
  • massage;
  • exercise therapy;
  • hirudotherapy - treatment with leeches is considered a promising method;Although it has not been studied in detail, but the results of the research are very promising.

These measures are effective in the early stages of edema development.With its long existence, fibrosis develops, which can not be eliminated by traditional or folk methods.

Diseases of bones and joints

In inflammatory joint diseases, swelling may also occur.However, they never spread too far from the corresponding joint.They arise in parallel with pain and violation of the supporting function of the limb.


Suppression of inflammation in the affected joint usually leads to the disappearance of edema.The doctor-rheumatologist is engaged in treatment of such patients.

Inflammatory diseases of soft tissues of the legs, trauma

Esguince-640x480 In case of injury, edema develops as a reaction to mechanical damage.It is always local, although it can spread far beyond the point of defeat, grows for several hours and gradually fades away without any special measures.

With infectious diseases and purulent soft tissue lesions, edema is only one symptom of the underlying pathology - phlegmon, abscess, furuncle or carbuncle.It is located at the site of tissue damage, it is usually mild and painful due to an inflammatory reaction.In severe purulent diseases, it can spread to the entire segment of the limb( all of the hip, or the entire leg, or the entire foot).


Treatment of the underlying pathology leads to the disappearance of edema and other symptoms.Handle trauma to the traumatologist, and in the presence of purulent soft tissue diseases - to the surgeon.

Other diseases and conditions that cause edema of the legs

There are a number of other diseases that sometimes cause swelling on the legs.This symptom is not typical for them, but sometimes it does occur.Knowledge of rare clinical manifestations of diseases helps the doctor diagnose in time.

Edema can occur with:

  • hypothyroidism - hormonal disorder, in which enough thyroid hormone is not produced;
  • premenstrual syndrome, in which an increase in estrogen levels promotes fluid retention in the body;
  • pregnancy - swelling of the legs during pregnancy can indicate a threat of one of the most serious complications - preeclampsia;
  • hyperaldosteronism - another hormonal disorder, in which the ability of the body to maintain water-salt balance is impaired;
  • disorders of nervous regulation of vascular tone.

In these diseases, edema is soft, uniform, usually both limbs are affected, but in the case of nervous disorders( especially paralysis of one half of the body) edema may be more pronounced on the affected side.Separately it is necessary to tell about edemas of legs or foots at older persons: more often they testify about problems with veins or with cardiovascular system.



For any of these pathologies, a thorough examination and treatment is necessary, which can only be prescribed by a physician:

  • endocrinologist;
  • obstetrician;
  • neurologist.

When assessing any swelling, the doctor must take into account the presence and other symptoms.They often give the doctor full information about the cause of swelling of the legs.At home, it is impossible to diagnose these pathological conditions, and it is not safe to treat.

More information about leg swelling, including leg edema in pregnancy, heart disease, etc., you get by watching this video review:

Volkov Gennady Gennadyevich, medical reviewer, ambulance.

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