Why You Should Not Ignore Swollen Legs

Occasional swelling in your legs or feet is fairly normal and usually harmless. When the symptoms worsen or become more frequent, though, leg swelling can signal problems with your veins and overall health.

Michael F. Gioscia, MD, is an award-winning vascular surgeon who leads the team here at the Vein Institute of Westchester in White Plains, New York. Widely respected for his expertise as a vein specialist, Dr. Gioscia is happy to provide insight regarding leg swelling and why you shouldn’t ignore it.

Understanding leg swelling

Generalized leg swelling (edema) that’s related to vascular issues and circulatory problems occurs when excess fluid builds up within small blood vessels (capillaries) and leaks into the surrounding tissue. You may notice the swelling first in your ankles, but it can occur in your feet, calves, or thighs as well.

What causes leg swelling?

Swelling in your legs can be related to a variety of issues. Some causes are temporary and relatively easy to tackle on your own, while others require medical attention.

Extended periods of standing or sitting, for instance, can cause temporary leg edema. In these cases, resting with your legs elevated or taking a quick walk around the block can help restore circulation and reduce the swelling.

Other causes of leg edema that might respond to changes in habits and diet include:

Persistent or worsening leg edema, though, can be related to more serious problems such as:

These issues require treatment that addresses the underlying condition as well as the edema. Note that advancing heart, kidney, and/or liver disease can also cause swelling in your abdomen.

When should I see the doctor for leg edema?

At the Vein Institute of Westchester, we invite people to call any time they have a question or concern about their health.

Otherwise, symptoms that signal the need for medical attention include:

Swelling that affects just one leg can indicate a blood clot and requires urgent medical attention.

What is the treatment for leg swelling?

Treatment for leg edema depends on the underlying cause of your symptoms. Venous insufficiency resulting in varicose veins, for instance, responds well to a variety of advanced, minimally invasive, in-office treatments that we offer here at the Vein Institute of Westchester.

During your initial evaluation, Dr. Gioscia takes the time to fully evaluate your leg veins and devise the most effective treatment plan. This isn't a one-fix-for-all practice. Dr. Gioscia has extensive experience in all possible solutions.

For an accurate diagnosis of what’s causing your leg swelling and a treatment strategy tailored to fit your needs, schedule a visit with Dr. Gioscia. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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