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Conditions & Services / Leg Swelling

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Leg Swelling

About Leg Swelling

Many associate swollen legs with musculoskeletal injury and inflammation. However, leg swelling due to fluids (not inflammation) may also signal vein problems and heart disease that can cause serious complications. The team at HeartPlace specializes in treating leg swelling, whether caused by venous issues or heart disease. They perform diagnostic venous duplex ultrasound and echocardiograms on-site to identify the problem and provide prompt treatment based on your unique health care needs. To schedule an appointment, call one of the 30 offices across North Texas, or book online today.

Leg Swelling Q & A

What causes leg swelling?

When you have leg swelling without inflammation, it is due to a build-up of fluids. This type of swelling, called edema, occurs when you have a condition such as:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lymphedema
  • Cellulitis

When your heart doesn't pump blood efficiently, excess blood backs up in your legs and causes swelling.

Why do vascular conditions cause leg swelling?

Vascular conditions such as venous insufficiency and deep vein thrombosis also lead to swelling because blood accumulates in your legs. However, the swelling only occurs in the leg with the vascular disease.

Venous insufficiency occurs when valves in your leg veins stop functioning. These valves usually keep blood moving up your legs; when they weaken, blood flows backward and accumulates in the vein. This condition, called venous insufficiency, limits blood circulation and causes varicose veins.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) develops when the blood flow in your leg slows down, whether due to an injury, prolonged sitting or standing, or venous insufficiency. Sluggish circulation lets the blood thicken and form a clot that interferes with blood flow. 

What symptoms accompany leg swelling?

If your leg swelling develops due to a heart condition, you may also experience: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Need to urinate at night
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Loss of your appetite

Leg swelling caused by venous insufficiency leads to symptoms such as:

  • Leg pain
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg itching and burning
  • Heavy-feeling or tired legs
  • Skin rashes
  • Discolored and thickened skin
  • Nonhealing ulcers

Deep vein thrombosis causes leg pain, red skin, and a warm feeling. 

How is leg swelling treated?

Your provider performs a venous duplex ultrasound for your leg veins or an echocardiogram, a diagnostic ultrasound of your heart. Ultrasound provides detailed images of your blood vessels, heart structures, and circulation through the vessels. 

You may need one of several possible treatments, depending on the reason for your leg swelling. For example, your provider may perform endovenous ablation, sclerotherapy, or phlebectomy to treat vascular insufficiency and varicose veins.

Heart conditions require an entirely different approach that may incorporate lifestyle changes, medications, or a cardiac procedure to treat or repair the underlying problem. 

If you develop leg swelling that recurs or doesn't improve, schedule an appointment at HeartPlace. Call one of the North Texas locations or book online today.