There are many possible reasons for leg swelling, but if the swelling is painless and affects both legs, the most likely cause is vein disease. If you have swollen legs, Bud Shuler, MD, and Natasha Gray, MCMSc, PA-C, of Vascular Associates, LLC in Panama City and Panama City Beach, Florida, can help. Dr. Shuler is a board-certified vascular surgeon with considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating the causes of leg swelling. Call the practice today to schedule a consultation or use the online booking tool.
Leg swelling is a common symptom that is more likely to develop as you age. Conditions such as infections, injuries, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can all cause leg swelling, but these tend to be acute problems and typically affect one leg.
Most cases of leg swelling are due to fluid buildup (edema) in the tissues under your skin. Edema often starts out being painless, and it usually affects both legs. Due to the pull of gravity, leg swelling tends to be worse in your lower legs and ankles.
The edema that makes your legs swell is most often due to a condition called chronic venous insufficiency. This is a circulatory disorder that affects the blood that's traveling back up your legs to your heart.
Your veins have valves at intervals that keep your blood flowing in the right direction. When the valves aren't working as they should, blood can trickle back the wrong way, causing problems like varicose veins, ankle discoloration, and leg swelling.
Your chances of developing leg swelling increase if you have risk factors such as:
The less you exercise, the more likely you are to develop leg swelling.
In the beginning, when your leg swelling isn't causing any discomfort or visible skin changes, you might not realize how serious a problem it can be.
Standing or sitting for extended periods puts the walls of your veins under pressure, which makes them stretch. As a result, your veins might become distended and start leaking. The pressure forces the fluid into the tissues in your legs, which leads to a condition called lymphedema.
Unless you receive treatment for leg swelling at an early stage, you could develop other skin problems like venous eczema, dryness, and lipodermatosclerosis (thickening skin).
Over time, these skin changes can make you vulnerable to venous ulcers, which are weeping open wounds on your legs and ankles.
The Vascular Associates, LLC team treats leg swelling using approaches like:
Lifestyle changes, including getting more exercise and losing weight, are important ways of reducing the pressure on your veins and improving your circulation. You should avoid sitting or standing for long periods and raise your legs above your heart at regular intervals throughout the day.
If you have chronic leg swelling, don't wait until it becomes a more serious problem. Call Vascular Associates, LLC today or book an appointment online.