Why are my legs swelling?

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Published On: April, 10, 2024

Leg swelling, medically known as edema, can raise concerns due to its underlying implications. In this article, we will delve into the causes and symptoms of swelling, specifically focusing on the distinct condition known as lymphedema. Additionally, we’ll emphasize the significance of seeking medical attention and how La Jolla Vein & Vascular can aid in diagnosing and managing leg swelling related to vascular issues.

Unveiling the Causes of Leg Swelling


Edema in the legs arises from fluid accumulation in soft tissues, triggered by malfunctioning valves within the veins. When these valves weaken or fail, it disrupts proper blood circulation from the legs. Consequently, fluid and blood become trapped, leading to leg swelling. This accumulation of bodily fluid resulting in swelling is medically termed edema.

Understanding Lymphedema

Lymphedema stands out as a chronic form of edema resulting from inadequate functioning of the lymphatic system. Unlike edema linked to vein-related issues, lymphedema directly ties to inefficiencies in the lymphatic system. However, vein disease can evolve into a combined venous and lymphatic disorder over time. Seeking early intervention from healthcare professionals holds significance, as timely attention can make a substantial difference.

Risk Factors for Lymphedema or Swelling

Any individual experiencing lower leg swelling should consider it abnormal and promptly consult a physician. Diagnosing and initiating treatment for the underlying cause is crucial. Additionally, while leg swelling may signify venous issues, it could also signal non-venous conditions like heart disease, heart failure, obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease, or kidney disease. Seeking immediate medical assessment is vital to identify the root cause.

Spotting Symptoms of Lymphedema or Swelling

Several symptoms may indicate the presence of lymphedema or swelling:

  • Swelling in part or all of the arm or leg, including fingers or toes
  • Feelings of heaviness or tightness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Aching or discomfort
  • Recurring infections
  • Skin changes like hardening and thickening (fibrosis)
  • Leg cramps

Professional Support at La Jolla Vein & Vascular

La Jolla Vein & Vascular specializes in diagnosing vascular-related leg swelling using advanced techniques like duplex ultrasound. This non-invasive method aids in identifying blood clots or venous reflux, pivotal in determining the underlying issue. In cases where obstructions higher than the groin are suspected, a venogram may be recommended. While lymphedema primarily involves clinical diagnosis, lymphoscintigraphy can be ordered through an external imaging center to further evaluate the condition.

Leg swelling could signal various underlying issues, ranging from venous concerns to lymphatic disorders. Timely detection and intervention play a pivotal role in preventing further complications. If you’re experiencing swelling or suspect lymphedema, seeking the expertise of medical professionals, such as those at La Jolla Vein & Vascular, can offer essential diagnostic tools and treatment guidance. Remember, addressing these concerns promptly can significantly impact your overall health and well-being.

“Bringing Experts Together for Unparalleled Vein and Vascular Care”

La Jolla Vein & Vascular (formerly La Jolla Vein Care) is committed to bringing experts together for unparalleled vein and vascular care. 

Nisha Bunke, MD, Sarah Lucas, MD, and Amanda Steinberger, MD are specialists who combine their experience and expertise to offer world-class vascular care. 

Our accredited center is also a nationally known teaching site and center of excellence. 

For more information on treatments and to book a consultation, please give our office a call at 858-550-0330. 

 For a deeper dive into vein and vascular care, please check out our Youtube Channel at this link, and our website https://ljvascular.com

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