Why swelling of the legs, and what to do in this case?

Swelling of the legs is a symptom that is manifested by visible swelling of the lower limbs, an increase in their circumference, and also, as a rule, other symptoms and unpleasant sensations.

There is a huge number of causes of leg swelling. These can be common diseases( for example, cardiac edema of the legs), as well as the pathology of the lower limbs themselves.

Leg edema can be one-sided and bilateral, have varying degrees of severity( swelling of the fingers and feet, or up to the thigh).Based on these signs, as well as additional symptoms, the doctor can give the patient a certain diagnosis. Below we will consider why swelling of the legs, and what to do in this case.

What are edemas?

Causes of foot swelling can be of completely different nature. Thus, the following types of edema are distinguished by the nature of the onset:

  • neuropathic - they are associated with diabetes and alcoholism;
  • cachectic - associated with depletion of the body or with cardiovascular diseases;
  • mechanical is the result of injuries, tumors or pregnancy;
  • hydremic - caused by kidney diseases and caused by the accumulation of excess fluid;
  • congestive - provoked by increased vascular permeability and capillary pressure;
  • allergic ( edema Quincke) - the body's reaction to an allergen.

Any of the above reasons can trigger both a swelling of the foot of the right foot, and swelling in other parts of the body. In general, the most common swelling occurs in the extremities, pleural and abdominal cavity.

Causes of edema on the legs

To choose a method for treating edema on the right or left leg, you need to know the reason for their appearance. In men and women, this phenomenon is observed with:

  • kidney, thyroid and heart diseases, accompanied by acute heart failure;
  • is an inflammation or vein thrombosis;
  • stagnation of lymph in the extremities;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • gestosis;
  • varicose veins;
  • of cirrhosis of the liver.

Also swollen legs can be caused by rather harmless reasons:

  • excessive intake of salt, leading to accumulation of fluid in the body
  • long standing in the standing position;
  • plentiful drink during the day, especially at bedtime;
  • long stay on low upholstered furniture;
  • tight, uncomfortable shoes at too high or too low a heel.

The causes of edema of the legs can be various factors that prevent the removal of liquid from the body. In most cases, it is difficult to determine immediately why the liquid lingers and stagnates in the lower extremities.

Usually, for this purpose, you have to take tests, go for ultrasound, or resort to other ways to find out the cause of this condition. However, it is obvious that the organism responded to some not very favorable effects in this way.

Varicose disease

The most common cause of edema. The overgrowth of the connective tissue of the veins and the stagnation of blood in them transform the legs not only into an unattractive sight, but also causes a lot of trouble, fatigue and pain.

In addition to the above-mentioned risk factors for the formation of varicose veins, heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and atherosclerosis can be noted. Undoubtedly, not having understood the cause of varicose veins, it will be impossible to get rid of edema, and therapy and prevention of diseases should be carried out in a complex.

Cold feet baths, wearing special stockings and regular use of ointments from leg edema and varicose veins will be a great help for alleviating the symptoms.


During thrombophlebitis, swelling of the legs may occur, accompanied by pain, other unpleasant sensations( numbness, tingling, "crawling").There is an increase in body temperature, a general malaise. In the absence of adequate treatment, thrombophlebitis may manifest more severe symptoms than swelling of the legs.

Kidney disorders

The cause of edema of the legs may be kidney disease. Both limbs suffer, while the eyelids swell, circles under the eyes are formed. The color of urine changes, and its secretion decreases. Edema can appear on the hands, abdomen. Sometimes renal failure is manifested by complication after a respiratory illness.

If the "cardiac" swelling occurs later in the evening, then the "renal" vice versa, more pronounced in the morning, toward evening they decrease.

Edema of the legs with heart failure

Edema of the legs with heart failure is a very common phenomenon, as the pathologies of the cardiovascular system in general are very widespread in modern society.

Heart failure is accompanied by the following characteristic symptoms:

  1. Edema of the legs in the evening. This sign of heart disease is different from the pathology of the kidneys, in which swelling always occurs on the face, and in the morning.
  2. Shortness of breath. It is also related to the fact that the heart is not able to adequately drive blood through organs and tissues, so they are constantly experiencing oxygen starvation.
  3. High blood pressure is noted, less often - low blood pressure.
  4. Pain in the heart: most often disturb the patient in the left half of the chest, as if squeezed.
  5. People suffer rapid fatigue.

What should I do if my legs swell and you are troubled by other causes of heart failure? It is worth to come to see a cardiologist or therapist. The doctor will examine you and prescribe additional examinations: ECG, ECHO-cardiography, chest X-ray.

Thyroid dysfunction

The cause of edema of the legs is hypothyroidism, insufficient activity of the thyroid gland. Pressing on the swollen place does not leave pits, the tissues retain their elasticity.

This condition is characterized by drowsiness, chilliness, frequent constipation. Often swelling of the tongue and in the shoulders.

Medicated swelling of the legs

Moderate swelling of the legs may also occur with the use of certain medications. To the medicines having this effect, include estrogens, androgens, DOXA, drugs from licorice root, reserpine. After the abolition of the corresponding drugs, edema is passed.

People whose work is associated with long standing in the standing position( sellers, lifters) may experience orthostatic swelling. Appear such edema on the feet and legs, mostly in the evening. They are expressed moderately and pass independently after rest.

Strong fatigue

Healthy people face swelling of the lower extremities after hard working days or stressful situations. Often swelling occurs due to wearing uncomfortable shoes, especially on high heels.

To get rid of such phenomena is simple enough: you will need a hour of rest on the bed in a position with raised legs, as well as a foot relaxing bath and creams for tired feet on a plant basis.

Why do women get swollen legs?

Medical practice shows that the issue of "Strongly swollen feet: what to do?" Is more often worried about women. In addition to the above pathologies that cause edema on the left or right leg, the reasons for women are supplemented by premenstrual changes, pregnancy.

  1. Premenstrual edema .It starts several days before the onset of menstruation. In addition to moderate edema of the legs, the face, women notice a slight increase in body weight.
  2. Pregnancy .Swollen legs during pregnancy due to increased volume of blood plasma;reduction of peripheral resistance of blood vessels;growth of the uterus, accompanied by local hypertension in the veins of the lower extremities.

Reasons for foot swelling in men

  1. The main cause of leg edema in men is chronic venous insufficiency, which is most often family-related.
  2. In addition, swelling of the legs can occur with prolonged static load or heavy physical work against the background of large losses of fluid with sweat.
  3. The same mechanism swells the legs in summer in hot weather with insufficient drinking load, tight shoes or playing sports.

What should I do when my legs swell?

Careful diagnosis, consultation of the therapist and duplex scanning are required, which will show the state of your blood vessels - thromboses, ischemia sites and cholesterol accumulation. The main question is what happens to the blood flow and lymph flow? After that, it becomes clear whether additional research is needed, and in what direction to dig.

If both the cardiologist, the neurologist, and the therapist are bred, and the swelling continues - these are unequivocally renal features, they are most difficult to localize and find an explanation. The general principle is that problems with the heart on the legs are manifested after severe physical exertion, toward evening, by morning, they fall off, the kidneys are "visible" in the early morning, and varicose veins and blood flow problems appear throughout the day, in dynamics.

Treatment at home

In the case of physiological edema, the recommendations for how to relieve swelling on the legs are as follows:

  • to reduce salt intake( up to 1.5 mg per day);
  • do not abuse products that cause thirst;
  • to try not to limit physical activity( it is better to choose exercises in water, for example, aqua aerobics);
  • , if swelling occurs, lie down for a quarter of an hour with raised legs, do foot massage;
    use compression knitwear( tights).

After consultation with a doctor, it is possible to use folk diuretics with foot edema:

  • decoctions of birch buds;
  • broth from a bear's eyelet( or bearberry leaves);
  • zaparka from the horsetail field;
  • cranberry juice;
  • decoction of parsley;
  • juice of cranberries.

It is better to refuse diuretics. But if treatment without them is impossible, then you should take them with caution, especially if there are problems with the kidneys or heart. During pregnancy, diuretics are contraindicated. Even if they are of vegetable origin.


Various loop( furosemide, lasix, triphas), thiazide( indapamide, hypothiazide) and potassium-sparing( veroshpiron, spironolactone) diuretics are used. The frequency of administration, the dosage form and the duration of treatment depend on the degree of heart failure.

Severe edema is treated with injectable loop diuretics with a gradual transition to a tablet receiving identical or remedies from another group. For prolonged anti-edematous therapy, thiazide diuretics are more suitable in combination with veroshpiron. Preparations of potassium( panangin, asparks).Be sure to include in the treatment of loop diuretics.

Therapeutic exercises

To prevent swelling of the feet, regular exercise of a set of simple exercises will help:

  • put the left foot on the right and raise the toe of the right foot as high as possible, then left;
  • stand on toes for several seconds;
  • move the weight of the body from the inside of the feet to the outside and vice versa, from the heels to the toe;
  • make a few easy jumps on the socks;
  • in position sitting on a chair, raise your legs and make circular motions with your feet;
  • toes bend and sharpen straight.


If you are confronted with the problem of edema, it means that your body is prone to accumulation of fluid. Remember that in that case, you should exclude from the diet:

  • salted foods;
  • fried and salted;
  • mustard and vinegar;
  • flour;
  • foods high in sugar;
  • red meat;
  • milk and dairy products.

The right way to cleanse the body of toxins - go to the so-called "unloading" diet. It will help you to remove harmful substances that make your organs harder and disrupt the body's balance of work.

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