Leg swelling or edema is often the result of poor blood circulation and a common symptom of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). When blood collects in the lower leg tissues, pressure builds, causing the lymphatic system to produce lymph, a fluid that helps transport while blood cells. With CVI, the lymph fluid cannot be properly distributed, which creates additional pressure—resulting in swelling.
For most patients, swelling begins in the ankles, gradually progressing into the feet and calves. Swelling cannot always be seen with the eye; for many patients, a tight feeling in the legs is the most noticeable sensation. Legs may also be warm and/or sensitive to the touch.
Who Is at Risk?
Those at the highest risk for developing CVI include women over 50 and individuals who spend a majority of the day standing (such as those who work in retail, food service, or emergency medicine). Having a family history of CVI also increases your risk, as does obesity, pregnancy, and high blood pressure.
How Do You Treat Leg Swelling?
Leg swelling can make navigating through your day more cumbersome. Though lasting relief requires treatment, there are a few measures you can take to immediately reduce pressure and swelling. Elevating your legs several times a day for 15 to 30 minutes at a time helps blood drain from the legs. We also recommend compression stockings, which promote better blood circulation.
To experience lasting relief from leg swelling, it’s necessary to treat the underlying condition that is causing CVI. We offer several minimally invasive procedures that can treat the underlying issues causing your CVI, including ambulatory phlebectomy, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, and endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
If you notice signs of leg swelling, reach out and see how we can help!