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What Causes Left Leg To Swell Below The Knee

What Do You Mean By Swollen Legs

What causes lower leg swelling in women after 40’s? – Dr. Kiran Sundara Murthy

There are a surprising number of different kinds of swelling of the legs. One leg or both legs could be swollen. If both legs, it could be symmetrical or worse on one side. A specific part of the leg could be swollen, or the entire leg. It could have come on suddenly or gradually. It could be there all the time, or it could come and go. It could be painful nor not. Taking into account all these things will help narrow down the likely cause.

Swollen Legs

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What Can Cause Swelling Above Knee & What Is Its Treatment

Swelling above knee is a fairly common condition and observed when knee joint or the soft tissues surrounding knee joint is inflamed or injured. Swelling above or over the knee joint is a condition often observed following the knee joint disease. It is sometimes also referred to as water on the knee.

Joints are junctions at which two bones meet with the help of soft tissues or surrounding structures. Swelling above knee indicates accumulation of fluid around the knee joint. Synovial fluid is normally present in the knee joint for lubrication, protection and nutrition of the cells in the joint.1 However, excessive accumulation of fluid in the knee joint causing knee swelling may mean some disturbance in the normal structure and functioning.

What Causes Knee Swelling

Knee swelling is most commonly caused by blood or fluid either inside or around the knee joint. Accumulations of the fluids are usually caused by injury. This is especially true if the swelling in the knee is sudden. Aside from injury, conditions such as arthritis and gout can also lead to knee swelling.

There are four major ligaments associated with the knee joint, and the one that is most prone to injury or tearing is called the anterior cruciate ligament . ACL tears are often sports related, but can be sustained in many other activities. Most of the time, this ligament is torn when too much pressure is put on the knee when jumping or pivoting. Knee swelling from ACL tears is usually very sudden, and is caused by blood rushing to the inside of the knee. In some cases, ACL tears are so severe that reconstructive surgery is necessary, however, with minor tears, the knee often heals on its own within a couple of months.

In many cases, ligament sprains can also lead to swelling in and around the knee. Sprains are generally not as serious as tears, and do not usually require surgery. Most of the time sprains, though very painful, are completely healed within a few weeks time. Unlike ACL tears, swelling resulting from sprains may take several hours or even days to occur, and the fluid buildup in the knee is usually not bloody.

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What Is Heart Failure

Heart failure doesnât mean the heart has stopped working. Rather, it means that the heart works less efficiently than normal. Due to various possible causes, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart canât pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the bodys needs.

The chambers of the heart may respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or by becoming stiff and thickened. This helps to keep the blood moving, but the heart muscle walls may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. The kidneys may respond by causing the body to retain fluid and salt. If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested. Congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.

What To Expect At Your Office Visit

What Does It Mean If My Knee Is Swollen?

Your provider will take a medical history and do a thorough physical examination, paying special attention to your heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, legs, and feet.

Your provider will ask questions such as:

  • What body parts swell? Your ankles, feet, legs? Above the knee or below?
  • Do you have swelling at all times or is it worse in the morning or evening?
  • What makes your swelling better?
  • What makes your swelling worse?
  • Does the swelling get better when you raise your legs?
  • Have you had blood clots in your legs or lungs?
  • Have you had varicose veins?
  • What other symptoms do you have?

Diagnostic tests that may be done include:

Your treatment will focus on the cause of the swelling. Your provider may prescribe diuretics to reduce the swelling, but these can have side effects. Home treatment for leg swelling that is not related to a serious medical condition should be tried before drug therapy.

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Acute Kidney Failure Diagnosis

Your doctor will start with a physical exam. Then, theyâll order tests of your blood, urine, and kidneys.

Blood tests. These measure substances in your blood.

  • Creatinine is a waste product in your blood thatâs made by muscle activity. Normally, itâs removed from your blood by your kidneys. But if your kidneys stop working, your creatinine level rises.
  • Urea nitrogen is another waste product in your blood. Itâs created when protein from the foods is broken down. Like creatinine, your kidneys remove this from your blood. When your kidneys stop working, your urea nitrogen levels rise.
  • Serum potassium is a substance found in your blood that balances water levels in your bloodstream. Kidney disease can cause either high or low potassium levels.
  • Serum sodium is another substance in your blood that helps with fluid balance in your body. High sodium levels can mean that your kidneys arenât working properly because your body canât get rid of the right amount of sodium.

Urine tests. Your doctor will check your pee for blood and protein. Theyâll also look for certain electrolytes. The results help your doctor understand whatâs causing your kidney failure.

Urine output measurement. This measures how much urine you pass in 24 hours. You will get a container to take home, pee into, and then return to the lab after a full 24 hours. It can help your doctor determine why youâre having kidney failure.

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Causes Of Chronic Swelling Of One Leg

Sometimes it is obvious that the swelling is chronic. For instance, someone is born with one leg larger than the other. But, perhaps surprisingly, sometimes it is hard to know. Many chronic conditions can go unnoticed and then suddenly become apparent. Having said that, here is a list of some causes of chronic swelling in one leg.

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Treating Foot Leg And Ankle Swelling At Home

There are several treatments you can try at home if your feet, legs, and ankles regularly swell up. These remedies can help relieve swelling when it occurs:

  • Elevate your legs whenever youre lying down. The legs should be raised so theyre above your heart. You may want to place a pillow under your legs to make it more comfortable.
  • Stay active and focus on stretching and moving the legs.
  • Reduce your salt intake, which can decrease the amount of fluid that may build up in your legs.
  • Avoid wearing garters and other types of restrictive clothing around your thighs.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

Swollen Legs And Ankles During Pregnancy

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When a woman is pregnant, it is normal for some swelling to occur in the feet and ankles. The swelling may be worse if a woman is on her feet during the day.

However, sudden or severe swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet could be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy. It can threaten the safety of the woman as well as the unborn fetus.

Other potential signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • swelling in the face and hands
  • vision changes
  • nausea and vomiting


Preeclampsia subsides after a woman has given birth. A woman should talk to a doctor about the symptoms she is experiencing so the doctor can help to determine the best way to handle the pregnancy.

A person should see their doctor or healthcare provider if they experience any of the following symptoms in the legs and ankles:

  • sudden swelling
  • unexplained swelling
  • additional symptoms, including shortness of breath, fever, and pain

A doctor can help diagnose underlying conditions. In most cases, treating the underlying condition will help alleviate swelling in the legs and ankles.

In some cases, making certain lifestyle changes may help prevent or alleviate swollen legs and ankles. These lifestyle changes include:

  • frequently checking the feet for bruises, cuts, and scrapes, especially if diabetic
  • performing regular exercise

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Is This An Emergency

Chronic swelling in the legs as a symptom by itself isn’t typically a medical emergency, Dr. Bhakta said. “Call and make an appointment with your primary care physician or cardiologist. The biggest concern with vein-related leg swelling, he said, is that the signs also could be connected to pulmonary hypertension.

The first thing your primary care physician or cardiologist likely will do is perform an ultrasound examination of your leg veins and an ultrasound of your heart an echocardiogram, Dr. Bhakta said.

The most often recommended non-medical treatment is compression stockings, which compress the veins and ensure that blood continues to flow.

If the exam shows that the valve in a leg vein is deteriorating to a significant degree, your doctor may recommend venous ablation. In this procedure, a medical-grade adhesive seals off the damaged vein.

If your doctor determines that your leg swelling is related to pulmonary hypertension or heart failure , you’ll probably undergo additional tests to determine the best treatment. Treatments for both pulmonary hypertension and heart failure include medications and surgery.

Causes Of Swollen Knee

If your pain and swelling have come on suddenly, it may be due to an injury from playing sport or after an accident or fall. Common injuries include:

  • A fracture
    • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs eg ibuprofen to relieve your pain
  • Tendinopathy

Chronic swelling, often with night-time pain, could be due to an underlying disease. These conditions, such as arthritis, are more likely as you age.

If you have arthritis, you will have chronic inflammation but you may also have symptoms of acute inflammation. There are different types of arthritis, which can all cause a swollen knee. These include:

  • Gout caused by too much uric acid in your blood
  • Infectious arthritis caused by an infection of a joint that leads to swelling
  • Juvenile arthritis occurs in people aged up to 16 years
  • Osteoarthritis the most common form of arthritis caused by break-down of cartilage in the joints
  • Reactive arthritis usually occurs after an infection of your genitals or urinary tract and becomes chronic this is not common
  • Rheumatoid arthritis your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints

If your doctor thinks your swollen knee could be caused by arthritis, they will ask you about any other symptoms and your medical history. They may refer you for further investigations, such as blood tests or an X-ray.

Treatments for arthritis vary depending on the type you have. They include:

  • Lifestyle changes eg exercise
  • Self-help devices eg easy-grip utensils, jar openers and reachers
  • Surgery

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What Can Cause Swelling Above Knee

Swelling above knee appears like a puffed knee and the accumulation of fluid may give it a bulging appearance.2 Swelling above knee or swollen knee is often accompanied with pain, discomfort and inability to move the knee joint properly. The knee may appear red, warm to touch and weight bearing on the knee, walking and other activities may be difficult. Complete bending or straightening of the knee may be difficult and painful on account of swelling above knee.

There can be many causes for swelling above knee, which includes:

Swelling above Knee Caused Due to Injury or Trauma: Any injury or direct trauma to the soft tissue surrounding knee joint can result in swelling above the knee. People engaged in sports, adventure games, or an accident can experience swelling above the knee joint due to injuries to soft tissues resulting in ligament strains, tendon injuries, muscle strains, cartilage and meniscus injuries. Injuries to the knee cap and soft tissues of the knee cap can cause swelling above the knee. Serious injuries like fractures or dislocations of knee cap and knee joint too can cause swelling above the knee joint because of collection of blood. If the pain is very severe with inability to move the knee, then immediate medical attention should be sought.

When To See A Doctor

How Do I Treat Left Leg Swelling? (with pictures)

Sometimes the doctor visit simply can’t wait. If you are dealing with a swollen leg and you experience other symptoms, it’s time to go to the emergency room. These include if the swelling occurs for no apparent reason, comes on very suddenly, or is the result of an accident or injury. In that case, get to the hospital as soon as you can. If you experience chest pain, fainting or dizziness, confusion, or difficulty breathing, call for an ambulance, as these could be signs of a very serious situation.

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What Are The Causes Of Swelling Affecting One Leg Or Part Of One Leg

There are numerous causes including:

What Will The Doctor Do

Your doctor will want more information about the swelling in your leg. For example, when it started, if it hurts and whether it comes and goes or stays much the same. They will also want to know if you have been on any recent long journeys or had any times when you were not very mobile recently, and if you are on any medicines.

The doctor will examine your legs and then may go on to examine other areas. This might include your chest and/or tummy and groins.

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What Causes Swollen In Legs From The Knee Down

Several conditions with different causes can lead to swollen legs or swelling in legs from the knee down. Most believe that swelling in the lower leg is a result of poor blood circulation.

However, this is not always the cause. If you want a quick and efficient treatment for your swelling in legs, The Comfort Zone, its self-directed guidance expedite your recovery and get you back into your regular activities.

There are two major causes when looking at what causes swollen legs from the knee down fluid buildup and inflammation. Lets have a look into each of them.

What Are The Causes Of Leg Discoloration And Edema

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The vascular disease manifests in many ways. However, leg edema and discoloration are two primary symptoms.

Discoloration and edema can involve problems with blood circulation in your legs which may include venous disease and/or lymphedema. The drainage of blood back to the heart is provided by the lymphatic systems and the veins in the legs. The lymphatic system filters clear fluid that is outside of the veins back into the venous system to be carried back to the heart.

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What Is The Treatment For Leg Swelling From The Knee Down

Swelling of the lower legs is common in older adults and is sometimes associated with minor problems, but other potential causes are heart, kidney or liver failure, reports MedlinePlus. For minor problems, elevating the legs or avoiding prolonged standing in the same position often brings relief.

The swelling or edema is due to an abnormal buildup of fluid in the region, reports MedlinePlus. Being overweight increases the chances of suffering the problem. However, blood clots in the knee or infections in the leg can also cause edema. Medications, including antidepressants, some blood pressure pills, hormones and steroids are other common causes of swelling.

The swelling can make legs feel tired and heavy, and the fluid in the legs can weigh up to 10 pounds, indicates MedlinePlus. If edema becomes severe, it can interfere with circulation and cause ulcers to develop on the leg.

Patients suffering leg edema along with difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, dizziness or fainting should seek immediate medical care, warns Mayo Clinic. Such additional symptoms could indicate a blood clot in the lungs or a serious heart condition. Patients who suffer swelling of the lower leg after physical injury should also seek emergency care. A patients who believes the swelling is due to a prescription medication should schedule an appointment with his doctor but continue taking the medication unless the doctor tells him to discontinue it.


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