Swollen Leg and Swelling of the Feet, Ankle and Toes

Swelling of the leg may involve a noticeable distension of the shin or calf, ankles, feet or toesFoot swelling may be a common occurrence which most of us will experience at some point in life after a long day of standing or sitting but may also be an indication of a more serious pathology as in certain cardiovascular disorders. Recurrent or persistent swelling of the feet should be investigated by a medical practitioner especially if you have a history of cardiovascular disease or have noticed a change in color, sensation or mobility of the leg, foot or toe.

Blood rich in oxygen and nutrients flow through the arteries to the target area. Blood carrying deoxygenated blood returns to the heart via the veins where it is quickly routed to the lungs to be replenished with oxygen. Blood flowing to the leg has to return to the heart through a group of veins with intermittent valves located throughout the course of the vein.

This venous blood (blood in the veins that is returning to the heart) has to flow against gravity and since the pressure is usually lower at the feet, other muscles of the leg assist with ‘pumping’ this blood back to the heart. This muscle pump is most active when we are walking and least when we are standing stationary or sitting. Blood travels short distances up the vein and back flow of blood is prevented by a series of valves in these veins.

Working alongside the blood vessels are the lymphatic vessels which returns lymphatic fluid (lymph) back up the body to empty into the blood system. Swelling of the leg usually occurs as a result of inadequate flow of blood or lymphatic fluid back up to the torso of the body. However, other localized causes may further contribute to swollen feet, ankles or toes.

Causes of a Lower Limb Swelling

The following causes may be responsible for swelling of the leg, ankles, feet and toes. It is important that lower leg swelling is assessed by a medical professional. Sme of these causes can be serious and even life threatening.

1. Inflammation

  • Injury
  • Allergies
  • Insect bites
  • Exertion
  • Phlebitis
  • Lymphedema
  • Baker’s Cyst

2. Infection

  • Cellulitis
  • Venous ulcers
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Athlete’s foot – severe cases of tinea pedis followed by secondary bacterial infection may cause swelling of the feet.

3.  Obstructed or Impaired Blood Flow

  • Varicose veins
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

4. Systemic & Miscellaneous Causes

  • Generalized Edema (edema throughout the body) or Idiopathic Edema (edema due to unknown cause)
  • Congestive cardiac failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure or cirrhosis of the liver
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Gout (swelling of the toes)
  • Pregnancy – refer to Pregnancy Leg Swelling
  • Immobility
  • Prolonged standing or sitting


Swelling of the lower extremity may be clearly visible or detected as pitting edema and may be accompanied with other symptoms (concomitant).

  • Distortion of the anatomy of the leg, foot, ankle or toe.
  • Pain (claudication is pain of the calf muscle upon strain or intermittent)
  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Pale, red, blue to purple or black discoloration.
  • Itching with or without a rash.
  • Excessive warmth or cold and clammy skin.
  • Impaired mobility either due to loss of muscle control or weakness.

Chest pain and shortness of breath are some of the serious symptoms that can follow lower leg swelling which may be due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The risk in DVT is that the clot may dislodge from the leg vein and obstruct the blood vessels of the lungs which can be fatal.

Diagnosis :

Swelling of the leg, foot, ankle or toes may be clearly visible and if one sided (unilateral), it should be compared to the other limb to verify the swelling. In cases of pitting edema, pressure with a finger on the swollen area will leave a finger imprint for a few seconds to a few minutes after the finger pressure is discontinued. There are two pedal (foot) pulses that are palpable, the dorsalis pedis pulse can be felt on the top of the foot or the tibialis pedis pulse which can be felt on the inner ankle. Feint or absent pulses may assist with identifying any factors reducing or obstructing blood flow.

A swollen leg may be indicative of other pathologies and further investigation may be required.

Treatment :

Treatment is dependent on the cause of the swollen legs, feet, ankle or feet.

  • Diuretics may be useful for water retention (edema) especially in generalized edema as it increases the passing out of fluid. It is not advisable for women who are pregnant or recently given birth to use diuretics unless advised by their medical practitioner.
  • Antibiotics may be required for infections. Antimicrobial creams, gels or sprays may be useful for treating venous or diabetic ulcers.
  • Anti-clotting or anti-coagulating agents like warfarin may be useful for thrombophlebitis and deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may assist with pain and inflammation or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Corticosteroids may be useful for allergic or autoimmune causes of a swollen leg, foot, ankle or toe.
  • Anti-gout drugs are necessary for long term management of gout which can cause a painful swelling of the toe, especially the big toe.

Management :

Management should be directed at the causative factors and it is advisable that you seek advice from your medical practitioner before you attempt to manage your swollen legs conservatively.

  • Walking or moving your legs, feet or toes may assist with swelling when standing stationary or sitting for long periods. This is especially important for frequent flyers and those prone to deep venous thrombosis as the long flights and restricted space can aggravate DVT and swelling of the legs.
  • Varicose vein sufferers may benefit from the usage of compression stockings. However it is usually not advisable to use compression stockings if you suffer with peripheral vascular disease as this may aggravate or complicate your condition. Consult with your medical practitioner before using compressions stockings for your swollen legs.
  • Raising your legs to body level when sitting can assist with swelling but be cautious about elevating the legs significantly higher than the torso when sleeping. This is not advisable in certain conditions affecting the heart, liver or kidney. Medical advice should be sought.
  • Reducing your salt and electrolyte intake (low sodium diet) may be advisable in certain conditions (like kidney failure) although this diet may not directly reduce leg swelling.

Related Articles:

  1. Swollen Joints

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  • jr

    my husband was in the hospital for 5 days they said he had a blood clot his ankle&legwas swollen. they put him on cumadin. but the swellen isn going down. wethought it would go down by now he also has lung cancer. thank you

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  • Kaz

    My left toes, foot, ankle and leg including the knee has been swollen for almost 6 months. I’m being treated for Venous Insufficiency, however, the specialist I just saw says the tests don’t show that. I’ve been wearing a compression stocking for about 3 months but if I leave it off for a day the swelling worsens. Has this happened to anyone else? I also have always had some swelling in both feet and ankles when the weather is humid or if I stand for a long time.

  • Dr. Pravith

    To jr

    I assume the blood clot is within one of the leg vessels. Swelling of the legs do not go down immediately although your husband is on Coumadin. This drug is intended to “break down” the clot and if this was the sole cause of the swelling, then it would go down gradually.

    Often the leg swelling may precede the clot formation. The purpose of “breaking down” the clot with a drug like Coumadin is to prevent that clot from dislodging from the leg vessels (embolism) and possibly lodging in the blood vessels of the brain which can result in a stroke.

    However your husband has other conditions like his lung canacer and it is best to discuss his case with the supervising doctor.

  • Dr. Pravith

    To Kaz

    Could you possibly state your weight, height, age and occupation?

    Also provide details of any other medical conditions. This may assist with providing a more accurate answer to your question.


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  • Dean

    I have a friend who has inherited swollen feet from her Mother. Her Uncle and Grandmother both have the condition so it is obviously genetic. Her mother has swollen legs to the knees now that she is older. Nobody can find out what they have. I know my friend is anemic and takes iron pills. She also had an infection on a cut on her leg and her whole leg turned black and blue. It happened to her mother one time too. A medical mystery?

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Dean

      I don’t think it can so quickly be termed a medical mystery. Swollen legs are a symptom and not a condition so it cannot be inherited. Your friend may have peripheral vascular disease. Possibly her mother and grandparents also suffered with this condition. The fact that she develops an infection and possibly an ulcer when she gets injured further contributes to the possibility that this is peripheral vascular disease. If she is overweight, has varicose veins or works in an environment where she stands all day or is stationary, then this will further aggravate her condition. A doppler study may assist with identifying the vascular insufficiency but if it is not conclusive, further medical investigation may be required.

  • Jan Modric

    Dean, as Dr. Pravith mentioned, swollen legs are not necessary hereditary, even if they appear in several members of the same family.

    Does your friend has a swollen leg from the birth?

    There are some bacteria that enter the lymphatic vessels through the cut in the skin…and then travel to the lymph nodes (behind the knee or in the groin) that become inflamed and block the flow of the lymph and cause swollen leg(s) distally to the blockage. Condition is known as elephantiasis. Other vessels or blood disorders from several causes are also possible.

    A specialist for blood vessels should be consulted, I’d say.

  • Naveen Wadhwani


    My mother got a heart attack 19 Days before,Now she is feeling allright bt she is facing swelling on her legs, First she was facing swelling on her leg bt after tht swelling came down to feet and nowdays swelling is on her fingers and lower part of her fingers are getting red day by day.

    Wht to do now & why it is ???

    PLs. help us …………

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Naveen

      The fact that your mum had just experienced a serious cardiac problem means that she should be under specialist care. These questions should be directed at her cardiologist and it would be impossible for us to assess her situation. There are a host of possibilities given her recent heart attack, previous medical history, lifestyle, current medication, etc. Attempting to answer your question as a medical authority would be plain irresponsible on our part and if you are concerned about your mother’s condition, please take her immediately to her supervising doctor. Her swelling could occur for a number of reasons ranging from the medication she is currently taking (which should never be stopped without your doctor’s approval) to any kidney disorders or complications relating to her condition. It may also be a result of her now sedentary state but she needs strict bed rest for at least the next 6 to 8 weeks. My best advice is see her doctor and do not attempt any amateur diagnosis or home treatment. The fact that she survived a potentially fatal medical emergency (her heart attack) should be a warning not to ignore symptoms but rather investigate them with the supervision of a medical doctor.

      Good luck.

  • Lina

    Hi, I had a baby 9 months ago. When I was 7 to 8 months pregnant I got swollen ankles and knees. When I had my first child I did not any issues like this but this time round this swelling has stayed on. Its not there all the time and have gotten better over time. However when I exert myself physically, jump, run, or standing for long periods of time. The pain comes back. Last night, I danced a lot and the ankles on the inside had swelling (painful).. right more so then left. and bruising (painful) blue/black on knee (right) more so then left. What can I do? I have been to the doctors and they just don’t seem to be giving the right advice or help. Chiro and podiatrist doesnt know what is causing it. Can you help with any natural remedies.. ie walking, lympathic drainage massage or other natural type advise to fix this since all else isnt working. Note I am still breastfeeding.

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Lina

      Leg swelling may or may not be present during pregnancy. It is is a common symptom especially in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Presentation of symptoms in one pregnancy, may or may not occur in you next pregnancy. It is difficult to assess online but the following information could be helpful.

      Have you gained a significant amount of weight compared to before you fell pregnant this time around?
      Varicose veins is a common complicating factor and may be visible, are there any signs of varicose veins or spider veins?
      Do you experience any numbness or tingling of the feet or does it appear pale and cold to touch at times?
      Do you ever wake up with morning stiffness of the joints?
      Do you experience episodes of leg cramping?

  • Dean

    Thanks for your time and response.

    Since her body has trouble making red blood cells could it be a Thalassemia?

    Foot swelling didn’t start for everyone until they were 18.

    I know feet swelling occurs in people who are conditioned to clotting, but in her case it is because her blood doesn’t clot, so I guess that is why I thought it was a medical mystery (I pride myself on being a good googler, but couldn’t find anything to help her, Thanks for this great site).

    Should her Grandmother and Mother be tested for blood disorders?

    Again, Thanks for your responses.

  • Rob

    I just got back home from the hospital yesterday from Blood Clots in my right leg and both lungs. My Leg is swollen slightly but feels like it has a permanent charly horse. I am taking coumadin and Lovanex ( think that’s how it’s spelled) And also vicodin for the pain. Is there anything such as ice packs or heating pads ( wet or dry ) that I can use to reduce the swelling of my leg? Sorry if you have already answered this question in earlier post.

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Rob

      In your case, I would most definitely not reccommend any heat therapy or ice packs. The Coumadin and Lovenox will “thin the blood” and eventually break down the clots quite effectively (based on your individual case and response to the medication). With time, the swelling would ease as well. I would advise that you leave this in the hands of your doctor and modern medicine because any unnecessary steps (like massage or other ‘alternative’ measures) could cause your clot to embolize suddenly (dislodge from its original site where it formed) and possibly lodge in the blood vessels of your brain, thereby causing a stroke. The pain in the legs are probably going to be quite severe for a while so use your Vicodin as prescribed and just be patient and follow your doctor’s instructions. Swelling is just a symptom of an underlying condition. Do not get too concerned with just the swelling as it should relieve with time.
      Always consult with your doctor before undertaking any change in therapy or trying something “new” that you may have heard or read about.

  • Rob

    Ok thank you very much. That was very helpful. They didn’t say anything in my take home instructions so i wasn’t sure.

  • Rob

    I’m sorry there is something I forgot to ask. Is soaking in the tub out of the question? even if I keep my leg out of the water? I have the clots in my lungs also. It’s too hard to stand to take a shower so that’s why I was asking.

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Rob

      Soaking in a tub with water that is of a moderate temperature should not be a problem. If you have any ulcers or open wounds on your leg, you should avoid getting it wet. However, if in doubt, it would be advisable that you have a chat with your supervising doctor.

  • Rob

    thank you once again

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  • dennypaton

    hello. i’m writing out of frustration. about 4 wks. ago, i went to my doctor after waking up to find my left ankle was swollen like the size of a grapefruit. my right ankle was only minimally swollen. after an ultrasound of both legs and my heart, bloodwork and a chest x-ray, my doctor ruled out dvt and a potential heart attack. so to minimize the swelling, i’ve been sleeping with my legs raised and making sure to not sit for long periods of time. it helps. in the morning, my left ankle is 60% better but the swelling returns by late afternoon. my right ankle returned to normal after the first night sleeping with my legs up. i should also add that i have a slightly elevated alkaline phospatase level (141) and i am hypothyroid but during this event, i’ve been mild-hyperthyroid (i have hashimoto’s). anyway, for the past few days, i’ve noticed my left ankle developing alot more redness. i had a few faint red patches when this all began but the redness has become worse and bigger. and my ankle, along with the rest of my leg, now feels warm and heavy. i also experienced, for a brief instant, a fleeting pain in my big toe and for these few days, i’ve had a constant, nagging tingling sensation in my left leg that began at the ankle but now extends from the knee to my foot.
    could this be an infection such as cellulitis? any thoughts as to what this can be? does hyperthyroidism effect edema? and any suggestions on what kind of help i should seek now? any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi dennypaton

      Yes, it could be cellulitis although you would have noticed other symptoms like fever and severe pain. It it difficult to say what this could be and any diagnosis via this platform would be irresponsible on our part. Swelling may occur in thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism, although you initially mention hypothyroidism and then hyperthyroidism so there is a bit of confusion about your specific thyroid disorder. While your doctor did rule out DVT, has he investigated possible cardiac failure – congestive cardiac failure, enlarged heart and so on?

      Based on your history, I would advise that you consult with a cardiologist and seek specialist treatment to rule out a range of possible conditions. Leg swelling is a symptom of many conditions and further investigation should be considered for a conclusive diagnosis. If you are dissatisfied with your doctor, always seek a second opinion rather than attempting to self-diagnose.

  • Christene

    I have a history of blood clots.
    Two months ago I had a Total Hip Replacement. I was given 30mg Lovenox twice a day and 3-7mg Coumadin for 6 weeks as a safety measure.

    Two weeks later my leg started to swell. Had a doppler test which confirmed a DVT above my left knee behind it.

    I was given 100mg Lovenox twice daily and 5mg Coumadin.

    After the third day on medication, my leg is still swollen. Foot at times feels tingly and I feel light headed.
    Should I be concerned?

    Will the swelling go down?
    Or is this permanent?
    Should I keep my leg elevated or can I move about as normal?

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Christene

      There does not appear to be any cause for concern as you have only just started a higher dose of Lovenox and Coumadin. Dizziness or feeling light headed as well as tingling are known side effects of both Lovenox and Coumadin. While you may not have previously experienced these side effects, the higher dose may be more likely to trigger side effects. However you should consult with your doctor for further advice and do not attempt to change the dosage of your medication without his approval.

      In terms of the swelling, I don’t think it would be responsible for me to comment on this as I am not your supervising practitioner and I do not know your case history or the current state of your condition. However swelling USUALLY does go down with time and this will not occur overnight. Once again, consult with your medical doctor. Elevating your leg and moving around should not be in a problem in DVT however if your doctor has given you strict instructions of bed rest and not elevating your leg then follow his instructions accordingly. He/she obviously knows your case the best as well as any other pre-existing conditions.

  • kmf0723

    Ten years ago after giving birth, I developed a blood clot (deep thrombosis) behind my left knee. My left calf, ankle and foot swell every now and then depending on what shoes I wear, if I sit a long time. When this happens I take a water pill and potassium pill. My doctor says that I will always have this problem in that leg due to the clot. This last time the swelling is going away, but my leg, ankle and foot itch badly. There is no pain or rash. It seems to be under the skin. What can I do to relieve this condition. It doesn’t seem to go away.

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi kmf0723

      Itching of the leg, ankle and foot could be due to a number of reasons and may possibly be unrelated to your swelling. However swelling and reduced circulation can cause skin irritation and itching. You should inform you doctor about this and see what he recommends. Soaking your feet in warm water, elevating your legs and so on may be advisable but your doctor knows your medical history and he will advise you accordingly.

  • anil desai

    Dear sir,
    My wife has swollen legs.Our physician ruled out several possibilities on asking for tests-such as renal function,lever function,Thyroid function and venous doppler.
    In thyroid test TSH is 4.24micrmu/ml against normal value of 4.0.
    He has asked to repeat the blood test for T3,T4,TSH and serium BNP,after fasting of twelve hours.
    Kindly advise whether Thyroid can cause swelling on legs and any adverse effect on Vision,as she is operated in both eyes for Narrow Angle Glucoma.presently her VA is 20/30.
    We are anxious after undergoing so many tests so far no abnormality is observed in test-reports.
    Thanks a lot Dr.GOD bless you.
    Please respond on my email address.

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Anil Desai

      Yes, a thyroid disorder could cause swelling but more so in an underactive thyroid. Is your wife diabetic? Does she have any cardiac conditions like hypertension, “enlarged heart”? Is she overweight?

      Diabetes as well as most cardiac conditions can cause leg swelling. Overweight or obese patients also tend to suffer with leg swelling.

  • rikjog

    Dr. Pravith,

    My Friend broke his ankle about a year ago and ever since his foot is still not right. We have been back to the doctors many times and have had xrays taken. They say noting is wrong with it. It turns black, swells up like a water melon, it hurts constantly but gets worse the more he is on it and pops all the time- he also has loss of feeling in his foot and has a hard time moving his toes. He has to work his way into baring his body weight each morning.

    Can you make any suggestion on what his next steps should be to remeding this?

    Thank you for your time,

    Jody Foote

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Jody

      Considering the symptoms your friend is experiencing, it is obvious that there is something ‘wrong’. The break may have healed but has obviously caused further damage in the area. Alternatively, the break may have not healed properly although it is not detected in the x-ray. I would advise that you seek a second opinion and consult with an orthopedic surgeon as your friend requires specialist treatment and further investigation. Attempting to cope with this problem in the way he has done thus far can further complicate the condition and eventually reach a stage where the problem cannot be treated.

  • Mari

    My family has a history of swelling in the left leg, mostly the left ankle. My father and his sister both had this problem. My sister and I have it as well. Mine started about the time I was 30. The left ankle can swell up to the size of the calf. The right ankle stays normal or almost normal. It is exactly the same for all of us. I have gone through a lot of testing (and am disgustingly healthy) since I’m not willing to just “deal with it” and all I can offer is that a vein xray showed no problems, diuretics do not affect it and it seems to fluctuate over a 3-day period. I am slender, my sister, aunt and father have/had weight problems. I have noticed that if I eliminate all starch products from my diet, I can almost completely control the swelling, but I discovered that only within the last few weeks and I’m not sure of my findings yet. My sister says that there is a paper from a doctor in the ’20s that describes the disease and gives it a name but that none of the doctors she’s seen have heard of it. Any thoughts?

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Mari

      Have you ever had a glucose tolerance test to verify if you are diabetic or not? If you have noticed swelling occurring due to starch, it could possibly be fluid retention caused by diabetes. Other than diabetes, or an allergy (which would not be isolated to just a single ankle), I am not aware of any other conditions that may cause ankle swelling so specifically when starch is consumed.

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  • TTaylor

    Hi, I broke my ankle in high school. For the last 10 years or so it swells up I notice it more when I wear new shoes, or flips flops. I don’t know if its an allergy to certain fabrics on the shoes or something more serious. Sometimes both feet will swell into my calves. I have talked to my dr and he isn’t concerned but I am starting to get worried. I am only 29 years of age. Could it just be that I swell? I notice that after a night of sleep the swelling is totally gone until I wear a certain shoe or stay on my feet for long periods of time.

    Please help!

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi TTaylor

      Based on the information you have provided, there is a few possibilities :
      1. Your gait (the way you walk) may have changed where you are putting more pressure on one leg. This can cause swelling of the ankle with more pressure on it. Wearing new footwear could affect your gait although socks should not affect this significantly.
      2. You may be allergic to certain materials. Wool (socks), rubber (flip flops), etc. could be causing an irritation resulting in swelling.
      3. You may have some peripheral vascular insufficiency meaning that your circulation of the legs is not ideal. This causes swelling of the feet which will be relieved upon elevating the leg, like when you are sleeping.

      If the swelling is not causing significant discomfort and not hampering your daily activity, then it can be ignored. But first it should be verified that there is no other underlying disorders with more serious complications in the long term. Due to your age, most serious conditions could be ruled out but it is always advisable to get it checked by your doctor.

  • TTaylor

    Thank you Dr. Pravith. I forgot to mention that I did have an ultrasound of my legs 2 years back to rule out blood clots..my sisters and mother have lots of spider veins and vericse veins. I seem to only have spider. I will bring it up again to my dr and ask him to do some blood work..but my yearly physical was in April all blood work was normal. I am a tad bit of a hypo so I will not let this go unsolved 🙂 I do notice when I do the treadmill consistantly it doesn’t happen as often.

    Thanks again!!


  • mrivmriv

    Doc, hoping you can give me some information. First, I have been a heavy smoker for about forty years. Second, my blood tests over the last few years always show I am dehydrated (I rarely drink water, just Diet Coke).
    I saw my GP two months ago for a swollen leg, from top of calf to the foot. Prescribed doppler (have not gone). Then, that leg went back to normal, and the exact same thing happened to my other leg. At mid-calf almost two inches thicker than the (now) normal other leg. Lots of itching. The physican told me he could feel no pulse in my foot, at this last visit. Now I am supposed to find a vein surgeon. Also from my x-ray, said I have COPD.
    Could you please tell me what are the range of possible problems. How much would vein surgery cost? Thank you in advance.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mrivmriv

      Firstly, your dehydration should be addressed and it should be verified that it is not due to other problems. Excessive urination linked to diabetes or kidney disorders could result in dehydration. If it just an issue with your diet and lifestyle, then it is time that you make a concerted effort to change that.

      Secondly, given your smoking, COPD and fluctuating swelling, it is very likely that you have a problem with your peripheral circulation and therefore you need to go for the doppler. Based on those findings, your doctor will advise you on whether surgery is necessary. I would not be able to advise on cost of the surgery as it id dependent on which country you live in, whether you have medical insurance, and so on.

      In terms of the possible problems, peripheral vascular disease may be caused by a number of conditions. It should first be identified whether the problem is purely structural or linked to other disorders like heart disease, kidney disorders or diabetes. Essentially, you need to go for the doppler for this to be diagnosed.

  • Kati

    I’m 28, and weigh 80 pounds more than I should. 7 years ago I was diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic when I was 110 lbs OVERWEIGHT. I changed my ways and controlled it with just exercise and diet alone. I lost weight, enough to leave me 30 pounds over weight, and in the past two years I am now 80 lbs over weight. As far as my diabetes goes I feel like I am have been doing great. From February 2008 – April 2008, I was volunteering at a place where I ran up and down the stairs and all around a good 800 times a day in flip flops. One evening April 2008, I happened to look down to find my feet blown up like a surgical glove as a balloon. I was horrified! The swelling extended all the way to my knee, my left leg was almost 3/4 of the size of my right one. I self diagnosed myself as having stress fractures due to improper footwear. My right big toe was numb on the left side and part of the bottom. I continued volunteering with proper footwear on, but still barefoot or in flats my feet would swell, with the left one being worse. Finally in April 2009, I could feel my right toe again, though it has a burn to it when rubbing, but atleast I can now feel it.
    In October 2008 I got off birth control, and since January, I had thought I was pregnant almost monthly with constant urination, severely thirsty, kidneys were hurting. Went to the doctor, I had a urine infection in May, along with a coldsore (which I never get). Went to the Doctor in June, I had a yeast infection. These are things I had NEVER had, so I actually feel as if something is fighting my immune system].
    For the past few weeks, I started excellent eating habits and a very nice workout routine. I was working out daily on the elliptical at a normal pace, and on 7/16/09, during the workout my left ankle hurt like I had twisted it during the day, but I continued to workout through the pain thinking it would help. That night my left foot was swollen really bad and my leg tingled all the way up to the back of my thigh. Figuring I pulled something, I rested the next day. Well when I woke up BOTH feet were swollen and the left leg had swollen up too. I decided to rest them again on a long drive as a passenger sitting in an upright position, and still to this day, now when sitting or they are elevated these past 6 days, they are swollen, with the left one being worse and tingling all the way to my knee. I have a Doctors appointment for today if I can make it, but tomorrow for sure. While it is clearly visible that I am swollen, I am so afraid that they are going to tell me there is nothing wrong with me. My mom was a thin Juvenile Diabetic, who in her early 40s had to have both feet amputated. (My knee also hurts really bad when I drive an automatic vehicle).

    It’s frustrating because I don’t know whether or not to rest it, or workout (As it would eliminate body fat which is detrimental to the body). I am doing low impact exercises and will be starting low impact aerobics in the water. This kills me because I am so active.

  • Kati

    Okay, wow, I usually write very well, I was just rushing to get my appointment handled, which will be today. I left out some things:
    On the left knee is a patch of fluid, and if I rub it, a zapping feeling goes straight down to my feet.
    I do not smoke, drink or do drugs.
    And I take a multi vitamin and Omega 3s EVERY DAY. Thank you.

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  • Kati

    okay, I went to the Doctor, and she was the best I’ve ever had. I have been diagnosed with Diabetic Neuropathy. She was shocked that I hadn’t been seeing anyone for the past 2 years for my diabetes, but I figured where I was told I was handling it very well, and not having healthcare, that I was fine. Turns out I was sooo wrong and should have had this addressed last year. I am grateful to have gotten the diagnosis, and have been perscribed 100mg of Gabapentin at bedtime. I am excited to get this under control. I have my labs for tomorrow for my HGA1C and cholesterol. She told me my blood pressure was a tad bit high. I told her that people have always said that to me, but they have never taken the next step. She said when I see her in two weeks, I will most likely be on medication for my diabetes (which I’ve never been on before) and possibly blood pressure medicine. The past few months my symptoms started going away to let me knowwhen my sugar was low, I thought it meant that it was under control, turns out that’s what happens sometimes with neuropathy.

  • jose

    mi problema es la hinchazon de ambas piernas desde las rodillas hacia abajo hasta los tobillos, y comno si tuviera un peso o presion sobre ellas, ademas de una coloracion mas oscura que la demas piel de mis piernas, los medicos me dicen que no es nada pero siento cada dia que me canso al caminar y como si llevara pesas en las piernas.

    ademas soy hipertenso 145-150 / 96-99
    y tambien tengo enfisema pulmonar.

    agradeceria su respuesta y posible causa de esto.


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jose

      I would really like to help you and answer your comment but unfortunately there appears to be a language barrier. If another reader could be kind enough to assist with a translation, then we will be able to communicate. Sorry.

  • akpd

    i know someone who has a swollen left foot. like it is become big and looks like a tree trunk and its all black and grey like the ankle the foot all the way to the calf. I asked him what happened and he said it was because his blood was not flowing back properly but i thought it looked more like an infection coz the leg looked like a really big and black but could it just be blood flow problem? could you explain the reasoning behind it .thanks 🙂

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Akpd

      Yes, this type of presentation is possible from ‘blood not flowing back properly’. Circulatory disorders affecting the leg will cause significant enlargement of the limb and with time, dark discoloration of the skin may occur. This is a type of eczema known as venous stasis dermatitis or commonly as a poor circulation skin rash. In cases of extreme enlargement, elephantiasis should be considered as a possible diagnosis which also causes thickening of the skin.

  • mrivmriv

    Dr. Chris, I just wanted to say thank you for your information.

  • tammy

    I will be 40 next month. For the past 2-3 months I have had swelling in only my left ankle, foot and toes. So much so that I get serious marks from wearing shoes. I have also had problems with swollen glands in left armpit and sore throat. I feel like I am falling apart. I am overweight. I don’t spend that much time on my feet because I have been laid off from work for quite some time. If it was just because of my weight wouldn’t both feet swell? I am getting somewhat nervous about this but don’t have insurance so am avoiding making a doctor appointment because I am afraid that I am over reacting. Thanks for any ideas as to why this is happening. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels tight and a little achy from the swelling.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tammy

      Swelling due to being overweight does often affect both feet but one foot can also be affected. However you should consider peripheral vascular disease, especially if you have signs of varicose veins, as the poor circulation may cause one-sided swelling if the vessels of only one foot is affected. In peripheral vascular disease, sitting can be as problematic as standing. Do you still suffer with the swelling when you walk constantly or if you sit with your legs elevated? Do your legs swell when you sleep?

      The one foot may also be taking a strain depending on your gait (the way you walk) and this additional strain will affect the foot that has to do more work. However this will cause swelling after walking or running. The lack of pain should never be a deciding factor as to whether to consult with a doctor.

      As a rule of thumb, I advise everyone older than 35 years to take certain symptoms very seriously, especially those that may be indicative of diabetes or cardiovascular complications. This may seem like a ‘young’ age to start focusing on cardiac conditions but with modern living (a sedentary lifestyle, diet high in saturated fats and especially if overweight), heart disease and diabetes is on the increase. In this current environment, medical costs are a factor to consider before seeking medical attention but it is better to undergo the necessary testing at the earliest possible stage rather than waiting for the conclusive signs and symptoms that may develop in later stages of any condition.

      Consult with your doctor even if your symptoms seems minor. At 40, its important to get your blood pressure checked regularly and have a glucose tolerance test (for diabetes). If possible, a full cardiovascular examination annually after the age of 40 should be done. Hope this information helps.

  • akpd

    Thank you Dr. Chris

  • tammy

    Thanks for the information. You are awesome for taking the time to answer random questions.

  • Kati

    Hi Dr. Chris- 4 days after being on the Gabapentin, my left problematic ankle hurt so bad- but I was on “bed rest” I NEVER got out of bed except for the neccesary stuff. It swelled up, but the right foot is perfect now with the medicine. 9 days later I went back for a follow up and my doctor pressed on the sore ankle and up my leg and told me it was a sprain- and she instructed me to start working out again and wrapped it in an ace bandage- I would LOVE to work out again, but I’m concerned with the health of my ankle.
    My ankle and leg swell up really bad still- though the tingling went away that shot up to my knee.
    13 days today and the pain is subsiding, but the foot and ankle are swollen bad.
    Because of that, I have scheduled an appointment with one of the “best” foot doctors, though my experience with him was not good sevferal years ago, as he didn’t listen to me about another diabetic foot problem.
    I will mention your suggestion, as I am betting that’s what it is. When I sit with my feet at a 90 degree angle in the car, the foot really swells up bad, it pretty much goes away through out the night- but I am a stomach sleeper, so I don’t know how well it could go down if I actually laid on my back. I will update you all on Friday! Thank you for all of your help!

  • carrie in cali

    On Wed Aug 19 while sitting at my desk on my lunch break at work, I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle (lateral). I reached down to rub my foot & thought maybe something got stuck in my sock (ankle socks) & didn’t really think too much about it. Well, 15 minutes later my ankle began to swell & felt hot–then I started feeling feverish. I work in a Doctor’s office with 3 providers–VERY busy–lots of fast walking & standing all day. I let it go for an hour & then checked my temp-which was 99.9. Waited another hour in between patients & felt febrile-checked again & temp was 101.5. Had BP check because I did NOT feel right–it was 170/102–my Pulse was 126..I have NEVER had a BP or pulse that high. My ankle was getting more & more swollen–felt like it was going to explode. Looked at it again & it was the size of a grapefruit & very warm to the touch. It happened so FAST!!!
    I was starting to get very scared as I have never experienced this before. I am a very healthy 44 year-old female with no health issues.
    I asked one of the Dr’s to look at it & he was surprised at how inflamed it was–said it looked like an insect or spider bite & advised me to ice, elevate it & take Advil or Tylenol–but I couldn’t til I got home 2 hours later.
    Went home, took Benadryl & Advil, iced elevated & fell asleep. Woke up an hour later with rapid pulse of 120, BP of 162/110, sweating, fever & severe pain.. Thursday (next day) I got worked in to see my PCP & he said he said it is cellulitis & thought it is a “bite” of some kind & prescribed Keflex antibiotic & 800mg of Ibuprofen for pain.
    I wrapped the foot with an ace bandage & went to work on Friday in major pain & limping/hobbling up & down the halls, taking care of patients for 10 hours on a very busy Friday!
    Any idea what this could be? It is SO frustrating that no one really knows what is happening to me..I am SO upset–the pain is excruciating at times. On the 1-10 pain scale it has to be an 11…
    Thank you for your advice–It is appreciated…

    P.S. I can’t take days off–I HAVE to work as I need the $$$$ desperately…

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Carie

      I agree with both the doctors. Any reaction with such a sudden onset is very likely related to an insect bite, possibly followed by a secondary bacterial infection leading to cellulitis. Consult with your doctor again and tell him that your symptoms have not eased. The persisting pain and swelling may be due to the fact that you continued to stand and walk on that foot after the supposed ‘inset bite’ when you should have been resting it. Don’t be hasty with tying the area with a bandage. While this may provide extra support, it can often aggravate infections by providing a warm moist environment for optimal bacterial growth. Another possibility is that after the bite, your gait (the way you walk) had changed due to teh pain and swelling and this change in gait could have caused inflammation of the ankle. These are just possibilities and your doctor’s advice is necessary.

  • Julie

    Is swelling of the lower legs, ankles and feet/toes related to bile duct/liver issues? I have RA plus I had a bile duct transplant last Mar. (RA destroyed the duct). Since then my RA has been out of control. I am on Enbrel one of the biologics. Tonight my legs from above the knees down are very swollen. Is there any relation between bile duct/liver and swollen legs/feet?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Julie

      Liver diseases can cause portal hypertension which may be responsible for your ankle swelling. However your drugs may also be responsible for this swelling. Considering your medical history, I would advise that you speak to your doctor rather than attempting to self diagnose or manage this swelling at home.

  • Cindy

    I’ve had lower leg swelling for over two years. This all started with a fall I took hiking. Since then I’ve had my knee scoped…now in 18 days im having my Talus replaced with a cadevor bone. (ocd of the talus). The MRI showed substantial adema…to the naked eye I have pitting adema on my lower legs. But the MRI showed no fluid or swelling in the talus region. My ortho surgeon told me to follow up on the swelling with my primary doctor and well she doesnt seem that concerned. Says its from sitting all day since my leg injury. So I haven’t had the chance to be seen by a vascular doctor…need a referral for that and I cant get myself one. Woke up this morning and looked down at my foot and my big toe and second toe were blue/red…after a few minutes that coloring was gone but nothing takes away the swelling. So my question is…is it really safe to be having my surgery with swelling like that? What happens with the stitches or staples when it swells when I get home? I have thoughts of side effects from surgery and the swelling. I wonder how a replacement talus is going to solve the loss of blood supply to the talus problem? How can that be.

    Thank you…

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Cindy

      Surgery is usually necessary to correct your problem or there are very few, if any, alternative options. Your orthopedic surgeon has made that decision on reviewing your case carefully and taking into consideration other aspects like your health status and contributing or complicating factors in your case. In terms of the stitches, etc due to swelling, do not worry about it, you surgeon will take that into account. There are multiple ways to ‘seal’ off an area after surgery and your stitches should not ‘pop’ so easily.

      The ‘loss of blood supply’ is most likely due to the excessive swelling disrupting normal flow in the foot. The swelling MAY not be due to poor circulation on its own. Since the swelling is due to an eroded talus (I assume), replacement would be considered. It is difficult to comment on your case because the information you are providing may not be indicative of your entire case, findings from diagnostic investigations conducted by your doctor or decisions he/she made with regards to your entire case. If you have these concerns, you should discuss it with your surgeon prior to surgery. The fact that you have suffered with this condition for two years, and if you are overweight, there has been a persistent problem that was not attended to and has possibly led to complications at this point. So you entire problem may not be due solely to the mechanism of the fall at the time. It may instead be a result of complications over two years that followed the fall. If you orthopedic surgeon did make a decision to replace the talus, he has done so for good reason.

  • mprichard

    I was in the hospital for 8 days becase my rt foot swelled so bad it turned purple and i could not walk. at first they thought it was cellulitis and put me iv antibiotics. within 3 days i was on 3 different antibiotics and getting worse. it then jumped to my left foot. my hands, wrist, and elbows started to swell as well. here is the kicker. at the same time i started getting purple spots up and down my arms and legs. i looked poka dot literally. nothing every culture. my sed rates were off the charts. i went on iv steroids and within 24 hours the swelling in my feet were half gone. to date we can not get a diagnosis. if i stay on my feet for longer than a few minutes they turn purple and swell. i stay on the couch with my feet up. the right side of my body hurts 24 hours 7 days a week. i have had test after test. do you have any suggestions. thanks, michelle

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      That is an interesting case and it would be difficult to suggest anything without seeing your actual test results. While cellulitis, peripheral vascular disease and so on would be considerations, the interesting aspect to this case is the sudden swelling once you stand. Did you stand or tramp any object prior to the first episode of swelling? What about an insect bite that you can remember? While your ESR were high, was there any other high readings on your complete blood count (also called full blood count)?

  • Mari

    Good day! I wrote back on July 21 about swelling in left ankle/leg and thinking it was caused by starch. I didn’t realize you had responded until today….yes, I’ve been tested for diabetes multiple times, all negative. I have since found out that the swelling is activated most by bread. The swelling is always 3.5-4 days no matter how much fluid or diuretics I take. I am not a celiac because I do not have bloating elsewhere in the body. Is there some other related disease that our family might have? Thanks, Mari

  • JCMeyer

    Hi there,

    A few months ago I was walking through the store shopping when I started to get a throbbing pain in both of my legs. Within about an hour both of my legs swelled from my ankles to my knees (to the extent my skin was shiny and felt like it was going to bust) and I could no longer move or feel either of them. My husband had to carry me as it seemed I was suddenly “paralyzed” from the waist down. This lasted about 24 hours. Since then my feet constantly turn purplish blue if I stand still more than a minute or two and I have constant pressure on the small of my back. I am female, 29 years old, somewhat over-weight and I am an ex-smoker. Can you tell me what might be causing these symptoms? I am not diabetic, though as a child, I was found to be borderline hypoglycemic. I still will get nauseated and shaky in the mornings if I eat too early the evening before. I am also constantly fatigued, it feels like my legs are weighted down whenever I’m walking around. Any help would be much appreciated!



    • Dr. Chris

      HI JCMeyer

      Have you done a glucose tolerance test to confirm that you are not diabetic? Watching for the symptoms of diabetes and doing finger prick blood tests at home is not sufficient to diagnose diabetes. If the diabetes test is negative, also consider a thyroid test.

      In terms of your leg swelling, the sudden onset with no previous symptoms prior to this raises many questions :
      1. Did you get bitten by any insect at the time?
      2. Did you have symptoms like this, although milder, previously and had ignored it?
      3. Did you have an xray and exclude a fracture of any bone of the leg/foot?

      These need to be conducted to allow your doctor to make a conclusive diagnosis. There are many possibilities for your symptoms but the most notable part of your case is the sudden onset with no previous symptoms prior to this. Your weight, posture and any previous injury to the back (spine) could also contribute to some of the symptoms like pain, but would not entirely explain the swelling that has occurred so quickly.

  • JCMeyer

    I have had glucose tests and they ruled out diabetes. There were no insect bites either. Xrays showed no fractures. The only thing as far as injuries go that I can think of was about 7 months prior to the swelling incident when I changed a flat tire and bent over and picked up the tire and “threw” it into the trunk of my car. That did cause quite a bit of back pain for a while. But would that contribute to the swelling? I’m at a loss at the moment. One physician said the swelling and paralysis was due to a pinched sciatic nerve and another said that pinched nerves won’t cause swelling and he was at a loss as to what the problem was. Thank you for all of your time and input!


  • Cindy

    Thank you Dr Chris for your opinion and reply. Can’t wait for my surgery…next Friday 🙂

  • nita

    Dear Doctor,
    Im a Malaysian female 44, and was hospitalised sometimes in February, March and April due to DVT. When first admitted I had reddish, warm swollen leg on my right limb. I cannot walked and the pain is 9.5 (if rate 1-10). Had to use wheelchair. First in February the doctor said I’ve had cellulitis, then ulcers and then in April after the doppler’s test they confirmed I had DVT. I went through so many kind of tests done by the doctors and nurses, and doctor confirmed that there is no risk factor that leads me to having DVT. I don’t know why I have cellulitis and DVT in the first place. Im still under 5 mg warfarin treatment. But I do not see any decrease in the size of the swollen leg. However, I don’t have any pain now except I feel rather tired if walking long distance. I am wondering if you could guide me on some home remedies like what type of food should and should not be taken. How about physical exercises, does it helps somehow? I’ve read in website that taking much lemon juice plus olive oil will help to flush out toxins, lymphatic fluids and so. Does this help? What are the other things we can self-diagnose from home. Really tired to keep returning to hospital. Appreciate your advice doctor. Thank you.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Nita

      If you doctor has excluded all possible causes of DVT then you should be cautious before undertaking any sort of “home remedies” and “alternative therapy”. The fact that the cause behind these severe conditions has not been identified as yet is a cause for concern and I would advise seeking a second opinion, preferably from a specialist.

      It is important to realize that any “home remedies” or alternative therapies can affect your condition, cause drug interactions with your warfarin and even lead to complications. So I would advise against it. In terms of your question about lemon juice and olive oil, and other “detoxification” concoctions, most have no scientific backing and the entire process of “detoxification” is hog wash on the part of the health product industry. It is difficult to say that 10 days of detoxification will cleanse the system yet you will bombard it with toxins for years. The body copes the best way it knows how and the liver, kidneys and lungs will “detoxify” the body like they always have. A miracle diet or product will not change your health status and health and wellness goes beyond “flushing out the toxins”. It is a combination of physical, emotional and mental health that work together to keep you in a healthy state.

      Physical exercise will be beneficial in increasing the circulation but should be done moderately at first. Your doctor should approve the activity that you are undertaking and start with mild exercise, like long walks first. Be careful of taking up a very strenuous sport or exercise program suddenly. this can put additional strain on your heart and complicate you DVT, leading to an embolism or even a stroke. A healthy diet, low in saturated fats with more low GI carbohydrates is always advisable irrespective of your condition.

      When it comes to circulatory disorders like DVT, I would advise that you follow your doctor’s advice. Self-diagnosing, whether through a book or the internet, should never be done and is a very dangerous practice that leads to deaths every year. While you may find a wealth of information on the internet and it may seem simple, it is important to realize that in most cases, the information provided is the ‘tip of the ice berg’ and to fully understand a disease, you need to understand many human sciences. Self diagnosing, self treatment with home remedies and other practices may lead to complications, which in your case may lead to paralysis (stroke) or even death.

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  • mprichard

    Dr. Chris,
    I was inspected from the waist down and they found no insect bites, cuts or scraps. The vascular aspects were considered but nothing came of that. Cellulitis was their first idea but after being on 3 antibiotics and only getting worse instead of better they ruled that out. Nothing every cultured from any of my labs. My sed rates and my wbc were high and stayed that way until 1 month af er i got out of the hospital. Now my sed rate is staying high constantly. I didn’t trample or step on anything. My knee gave out and I went straight down. Within 3 days it started swelling. I have been tested for RA, Lupus, and lymes. All came back negative. My symptoms are odd and even now my feet still swell and turn purple within minutes of being on them. I am at a loss as is my doctor. We are both doing research I just need some more ideals of were to look or consider. Thanks for your help.


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      It would be very difficult to direct you in any direction with regards to this problem as you have indicated that your doctor has excluded any vascular cause, autoimmune disease or infection. You need to see a specialist and get a second opinion. At this point in time, I would consider Raynaud’s Syndrome which causes a sudden constriction of the blood vessels of the leg and feet, in your case. The reduced circulation in this case is not due to occlusion within the blood vessel but rather as a result of sudden narrowing of the vessel. This can be caused by certain neurological disorders affecting the nerves that control the dilation and construction of vessels, drugs, thyroid disorders and autoimmune causes (which have been excluded) as well as connective tissue diseases. Nevertheless, this is only a “guess” on my side as I do not know what tests have been done, what the medical findings are on the part of your doctors, age, weight, pre-existing medical conditions, and any other contributing factors. This is why i would advise that you seek a second opinion, from a specialist, rather than spending time researching this on your own. I am sure you doctor would have considered Raynaud’s at this point in time so a specialist opinion can be of huge benefit.

  • nita

    Hi Dr Chris,

    Thank you very much for your input. Yesterday I met my doctor for my monthly checkup and still going for 5mg warfarin. I will surely take your advice as guidance. Thanks.

  • kim

    I have swollen ankles and feet, I have been tested for everything under the sun, and all of my tests came back in the good. I have been prescribed water pills, but they dont seem to help the swelling. I wear open toed sandals and they make my feet swell up as well. I have had sprains in both of my ankles as well that I dont think they have ever healed properly. I also am overweight. I also tried a new exercise program and screwed my knee up and now my right leg is more swollen up than my left leg. I also drink alot of water, as well as drink some gatorade due to the fact that I am taking the water pills. Any suggestions?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kim

      An old injury, like a sprain, that does not heal properly will cause constant inflammation in the area as a result of the strain caused at the area, particularly during walking. Being overweight does result in swollen legs so your priority should be to reduce your weight immediately. If you are showing signs like swollen ankles, possibly related to your body weight, then it is obvious that the problem needs to be managed before you experience more serious complications related to your weight. Also remember that the additional weight will put added strain on your ankle, which may setill be experiencing inflammation due to the sprain. I would suggest focusing on weight loss seriously as a swollen ankle is often related to poor circulation that occurs in persons who are overweight.

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  • I have two dvts in my left leg due to my last pregnancy. I have a filter to catch any pieces that break off and I am on warfarin and lisinopril forvmy blood pressure. I have some swelling in my leg in the morning and as the day progresses it gets worse. I work in a restaurant so I am walking around a lot which will, by the end of the, make my ankle and foot twice as big as my other leg. I don’t have any pain but what can I do to reduce the swelling? I have had some vericose veins develop at my ankle since the dvt diagnosis. Should I be wearing compression stockings to help with the flow of fluids in my ankle?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi RMoore

      While compression stockings are advisable to reduce swelling, it is usually only needed for a period of time after starting warfarin. If the swelling is persisting long term although you are on medication, then you should consult with your doctor to reassess your case. For now, the compression stocking will help with the swelling.

  • sandy

    I have been on Coumadin for a few years and one week ago I stopped taking it because I thought I was pregnant. Based on certain symptoms I still haven’t taken it because I suspected a tubal pregnancy. (Have had one before and had to have surgery). However today I have decided I am not pregnant, or if I was then it went away on its own. (I am pretty good at self diagnosis due to my numerous past medical issues).

    Sooo, here is my new dilemma. I planned on going back on the Coumadin tonight, however when I was in the shower a short bit ago I noticed that my foot is tender and there is a bright purple kind of squishy swollen area on my foot, and when I started touching it, I can’t say it hurt, but there was tingling and slight discomfort.

    I don’t have insurance so I try really hard to know I am not wasting my money before going to the emergency room.

    Any thoughts?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sandra

      Firstly, stopping any chronic medication comes with a host of possible complications that may arise, which may not be simply eased by starting the chronic drug again. So the next time you suspect pregnancy, please confirm with a blood test preferably, rather than suspecting pregnancy and now deciding that you are not pregnant. You need to do a test immediately to confirm these ‘hunches’ and self diagnosis is dependent on your limited knowledge of the conditions you may have suffered thus far plus a combination of reading. This does not equip you to make an educated decision on your therapy and if you choose to do so, you do this at your own risk.

      Secondly, I believe that I would be doing you an injustice by attempting to downplay any symptoms you are now experiencing, Yes, it may be minor but at the same time, the host of possibilities that may arise coupled with my lack of knowledge of your medical history means that any online platform will not suitably answer your question. Please consult with your doctor. I understand the hardship associated with medical costs, especially when you lack insurance, but the complications that may arise could be severe, debilitating or even fatal. In the same breath, it may be minor. It’s not a risk I would advise that you take. See your doctor immediately.

  • Maynard

    I’m a 28yr old male I just had my jaw wired shut and i noticed my foot toes legs thighs are swollen my sto
    ach is to on the side i can leave a dent in my leg when pushes down what is it Ive been taking clindamycin for Infection and Liquid codeine my ankle goes down when I sleep but swells late in
    the day what is it

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Maynard

      Why did you have your jaw wired shut? Certain medication can contribute to swelling but it also depends on your medical history and current medical conditions.

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  • Sonu

    Hi, My mother has had mild feet and ankle swelling due to lymphodema for that last 4 years. However, in August she had a hairline fracture in her left feet and since then the foot has swollen up, even though there is no pain or any other feeling. The swelling did not come right after the fracture or healing. Also, for a week it was almost gone and now its quite persistent. She is going for a Doppler test. Any other recommendations.. Thanks.

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi Sonu

      The doppler would most definitely be recommended. The fact that she is not feeling any pain may be due to neurological complications, either related to peripheral vascular disease or if there is other conditions like diabetes. Nevertheles, a fracture which is not healing will cause persistent swelling. I assume the x-rays have been done, but a doppler would be the next step to identify the state of the blood vessels in the leg, etc. There must be other aspects of your mom’s medical history that has to be taken into account and the doctor overlooking her case will be in the best position to decide on other investigations that may be necessary.

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  • TUSH

    Hi, my legs are swollen on and off. I also have difficulty moving my bowels. Pls help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tush

      Could you provide more details. How long has this swelling been occurring, is it one-side or affecting both sides. Is there any pain, loss of sensation or function? What other health problems do you have apart from the constipation? Have you been to a doctor and was has he/she said and so on?

  • TUSH

    The swelling affects the right leg more. No pain of any sort, just feels numb on the leg at times. Have not really complained to a doctor yet.

    • Dr. Chris


      You really need to give more information. Age, medical history, exact site of swelling and numbness and so on. That is the only way I could provide some guidance. And see a doctor. Even the mildest symptom may end up being a more serious condition. If you are unsure what information may be needed by your doctor, check out this patient questionnaire.

  • Joanjett

    Hi – I have been off work with Spinal Stenosis causing severe sciatica … I first noticed my ankles swelling this summer and put it off to humidity. But since I’ve been off with my back I’ve noticed it is there all the time.

    They are down in the morning but still have fluid as I check with my thumb print daily.

    I have mentioned this to my Dr. who has had a chest xray done and blood tests and there has been no conclusion. I have gained approx 50 lbs during this time as I also had quit smoking. The added weight and inabillity to exercise as I was has left wondering if the swelling is due to inability.

    I used to drink 8 glasses of water per day and I had stopped as it was so painful to get up and walk…. no that I’m feeling a litte better with the meds (Lyria and Celebrex) — I was wondering if I drink more water /cranberry juice if that would help ??

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Joanjett

      There are two possible causes which could be contributing to your condition.
      1. The sciatica is causing you to walk in an unnatural manner. The irregular weight distribution due to this altered gait may be causing inflammation in your legs thereby accounting for the swelling.
      However this is unlikely due to the nature of your swelling.
      2. You may have peripheral vascular disease meaning that the blood vessels of your leg are hampering circulation and return of blood back to the heart.

      The latter will cause swelling when awake and moving and this swelling will ease when you sleep or elevate your legs. Your doctor may have to consider peripheral vascular disease and doppler may be required.

      It is also important to consider heart disease although your doctor would have taken this into account, depending on your age, and given your history of smoking. This can also contribute to leg swelling in this manner. Drugs like Lyrica is known for causing swelling of the hands or legs so this is another factor to take into consideration. Drinking cranberry juice or more water is not going to “push out” the fluid that is contributing to leg swelling. You need to discuss the seriousness of your leg swelling with your doctor or see an orthopedic surgeon.

  • kimba

    My 14yo daughter was born with corrected transposition of great arteries. She had major corrective surgery at 1yr. She lost her left hand and 1 toe from left foot to ischemic necrosis after cardiac arrest and stroke. She has a permanent pacemaker which was replaced 2 months ago. Her left foot is now swollen and grey in colour. There are a lot of visible veins which feel quite firm. What could be the cause of this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kima

      Any paleness or even a grey hue of living tissue should be investigated for a lack of oxygen. You need to take her to a doctor immediately to verify the possible cause. It could be a number of possible causes and given her history, she needs immediate medical attention.

  • candihop

    For the last year my left leg has been swelling off and on…mostly on. My mom has a similar problem. It all started when she gave birth to me at the age of 24. The doctors told her that they had cut into some lympnodes during the c-section and that is what caused the swelling. Well now at the age of 25 and no children I am having the same problem.

    Medical History: In 2005 when I was having surgery for a female problem(dysplasia on cervix) I started having complications while coming out of anesthesia. Not long after I was diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome. My cardiologist said it was not severe enough for medication or an ablation and told me that I do not need to continue seeing him unless I feel like I’m having weird palpatations.

    Earlier this year I went to the doctor not long after the swelling started and my doctor ordered an ultrasound to rule out blood clots in my left leg…NONE! So he put me on diuretics and they have not helped one bit. I have not been able to go back to the doctor since as I was laid off. I will get insurance at the beginning of the year with my new job, but wanted to get ideas from people here first so I can ask more specific questions when I do go back to the doctor.

    Recent Activity: I had a very busy weekend with holiday parties where I was wearing high heels and standing a lot and then Sunday I rested for most of the day, then I went to a concert and was standing for 4 hours(I wore flats). Monday I woke up, went to work…didn’t notice anything abnormal but at lunch my leg started getting achy and when I looked down I noticed that my left leg was swollen to above my knee. I sit at a computer most of the day, but I make it a point to get up and move around every hour. Last night when I got home I was walking up the stairs to the bedroom and my knee was very sensitive to the weight I was putting on it, which I figure is from the excess fluid that is surrounding it. Also, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving I was having shooting pain from my left buttock all down to my knee and I often have pain behind my knee, but this is the first time my leg has been swollen this bad.

    Any ideas??

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Candihop

      Bottom line – you need to consult with your doctor ASAP. There are numerous causes for your swelling, from overexertion, to complications that can arise from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. It is also important to note that this condition may lead to other cardiovascular conditions. It is difficult to say what may have caused your particular swelling without knowing your entire case, physical characteristics like weight, etc. and a thorough physical examination. I have to stress that given your history, you need to see your doctor and not find solutions for self diagnosis or home treatment.

  • Sol

    My wife was diagnosed with Factor 5 Leiden several years back. On December 14th 2009, we found out that she was pregnant and that her Femoral vein had clotted up. (2nd pregnancy-there was no real problems with the first one, since she was on comadin prior too, and lovenox after finding out)

    On December 14th she had also been walking all day long from visit to visit. They prescribed her Lovenox and after 5 days or so the swelling in her leg went down.

    To this day, even though she doesn’t feel pain in her leg, she can’t fully stretch it out and gets swollen if she tries to walk. She walks with crutch support.

    We have a Dr’s appointment on the 12th, but I’m concerned about the swelling that seems to keep coming back when she uses her leg.

    She was on full bed-rest for about 1 week before taking “baby” steps.

    Could the swelling be result from all her walking when she clotted?

    Will the swelling go away?

    Will she be able to walk normally again?

    Could the swelling serious, and should we see a DR right away?

    Should she be trying to keep walking to try and “work” out the swelling?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sol

      To answer your questions :
      1. Yes, she likely develop a clot and the walking aggravated the condition thereby causing swelling.
      2. I cannot say when or if the swelling will go away. The attending doctor will know her case better and be able to give you a prognosis based on his/her clinical findings.
      3. Yes, you should see a doctor immediately. Given her pregnant state, she will need to be more vigilant about any symptom. Pregnancy can often aggaravate Factor 5 Leiden beyond previous attacks so medical attention is always necessary.
      4. No. She should not be straining the leg any further. Bed rest is advisable until your doctor advises you otherwise.

  • LynnC

    Hi Dr,

    I’m a 33 yr old female.
    Last Thurs (7 days ago), I had abt 7/8 red rash-looking bumps appearing on the lower legs (both) and 2/3 near the knees. On Friday last week, there were muscle pains on both legs and it was becoming difficult to walk. On Sunday, the right leg and foot was swelling. The next day the left leg swelled. I went to see the Doctor and he did blood test (white cell normal) and the area where the blood was taken turned blue-black 2 days later and TB test (normal). My heart rate, urine, BP is normal. The swelling on both legs still exist only at night it get reduced by elevating the legs. I went on Ibuprofen 500mg. The red-rash looking bumps has reduced but the rash area has turned blue-black. The swelling still persist and is painful (after 1 week). I’m worried. The doctor seems confused too. Any thoughts on this? Thank you.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi LynnC

      Your doctor may need to do an ultrasound scan or doppler. The integrity of the veins in the leg needs to be established. It is obviously a circulatory disorder but given your age, it may not be a cardiac problem but rather a problem with your leg veins. This could account for many of your symptoms. If you are doctor is still unsure, you should consider consulting with a cardiologist or another doctor for a second opinion.

  • Jane

    Hi, I have a question, my Dad 66 yrs old has brain cancer that started out with Lung cancer. He has very swollen feet and legs to the point where water is coming through. He is also diabetic. He is on meds to reduce the swelling, but it’s not working. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jane

      Given your dad’s history, I would advise that you not try any home remedies for the leg swelling. If the swelling is not reducing, go back to the doctor and discuss the matter with him/her. You dad’s history and chronic prescriptions means that he needs to be managed by a medical specialist and it is not a good idea to mix and match medication just to ease a symptom like leg swelling. Consider the fact that in comparison to his other ailments, the leg swelling is fairly minor. Your dad’s doctor is probably taking this into account and not approaching the matter very aggressively as there are other more pressing health issues.

  • Jane

    Hi, I have a question, my Dad 66 yrs old has brain cancer that started out with Lung cancer. He has very swollen feet and legs to the point where water is coming through. He is also diabetic. He is on meds to reduce the swelling, but it’s not working. Do you have any suggestions? Also, he is complaining of pain in his legs as well as his back….

  • lamteach

    About a month ago I went to the doctor with pain behind my knee. She x-rayed my knee (which came back fine) and gave me the diagnosis of a pulled hamstring and ordered PT. The next day my calf was swollen and I was sent to the ER with thoughts of having a blood clot. After an ultra sound that was ruled out and said that I had cellulites. I spent the weekend at home not getting any better. On Monday I went back to my primary doctor where she gave me a shot of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory and I was to come back in the morning. I did this and on Tuesday, my ankle and foot had begun to swell as well. She then sent me to a vascular doctor.
    He, too, did an ultra sound on it and ruled out blood clot. He was stumped and admitted me to the hospital. I was put on two different IV drips. One antibiotic that ran for 2 hours and the next for 4 hours. (These altered for 24hour a day for the next 4 days.) The next day I had an MRI done on my upper thigh with and without contrast and it came back clear. Called in an orthopedic doctor who then did an MRI on my knee; it too came back clear (very small cyst on the back of my knee but nothing to be alarmed by).
    Vascular doctor ordered a CT scan with and without contrast and it came back normal. Next, the vascular doctor thought possible superficial blood clot and ordered an ultrasound, which came back normal. By this time the swelling was still happening in my calf, ankle and foot. I was also not able to feel my foot; it was like it was asleep and I could not move my toes.
    Next a Neurologist came in who gave me the diagnosis of mononeuropathy. He put me on Neurontin and steroids (Prednisone) and within 6 hours of taking this combination of meds I was able to feel my foot and wiggle my toes. An Infectious Disease doctor was asked to consult. He agreed with the Neurologist and took me off of the antibiotics. I was released from the hospital and home for almost a week on the Neurotin and Prednisone then went in to have EMG/nerve conduction test done. Well, this came back looking fine!
    I was then sent to a 2nd Orthopedic Doctor who x-rayed my lower back and lower leg. I apparently have a blown disk. I am scheduled to have an MRI of my lower back and lower leg on Monday and will find out these results next Thursday.

    Any thoughts or suggestions about what I might have would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr Gauresh

      well apparently from what you have explained out there. It seems that you have had a short course of cellulitis which affected the nerve of the leg to have given you the neurological symptoms of absent sensation of the foot (sleeping foot) or alternatively if you had some injury or pulled a hamstring then along with it you must have had injury to the nerve of the foot which gave you the sleeping foot. Nevertheless your disc problem is not supposed to have caused this for sure. The disc problem was discovered incidently and you are being evaluated for it is good.

  • Vman

    Hello, I’m deaf person and I’m 30 years old male, I’m am worry about things. I tell you reason is, When my left arm moving around and pain my chest and few weeks later my leg becoming sloggy and got pain in calf or thigh until got my Ankle abit strange…I don’t know what is it and I hope you can help me out?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Vman

      I can only help if I understand you correctly. Let me get this straight :
      1. You had chest pain upon moving your left arm.
      2. Your leg became ??? I do not understand what you mean by sloggy. Sorry.
      3. You have a pain in your calf, thing AND ankle.

      If this is correct, can you tell me if there is any change in sensation, muscle weakness change in mobility. Please provide more details in clearer English and we will try our best to help you out.

  • Dennis

    Hey Dr,
    could u help me out?
    I got a grandfather,he’s in his sixties.
    He’s feet to his calf looks kinda swollen and seems to be in a darker skin colour. like a dark brown or black.

    He is about 160cm tall,
    in his sixties,
    slightly over weight,
    and he is around the house most of the time.

    He is reluctant to visit a doctor so.. i have to seek help here.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dennis

      Online advice is not the solution. Despite his reluctance he has to visit a doctor, he has to accept that at this stage in life he needs proper medical care. The fact that he is in his senior years, not very active (“around the house most of the time”) and slightly overweight puts him at risk of many cardiovascular conditions. Peripheral vascular disease may account for the swelling and skin discoloration but there may be other serious conditions that may not be apparent. Given his age, these can strike quickly, result in paralysis or even lead to death. He needs to see a doctor.

  • sara

    My left toe has been swollen for four months I’s so swollen I can’t see my cuticles. Whats wrong? PLease help I am worried I might be unhealthy or soemthing.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sara

      The possibilities are endless. Did you injure it prior to the swelling? Was there or is there pain, redness or any skin rash? You don’t make mention of your age, medical history or other pertinent information so we cannot guess what may be wrong. It could be an injury, allergy, skin rash, bone fracture, like I said the list goes on. But since it has been swollen for 4 months, I would advise hat you see a doctor. Prolonged swelling is usually not a good sign.

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  • cassy08


    So I am 36 weeks pregnant and the swelling in my feet have gotten so bad, that my shins hurt so bad it brings me to tears? Is this normal?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Cassy08

      Yes foot swelling with moderate pain and aches is normal in pregnancy. But since you mention that it is so severe, I would advise that you speak to your doctor. There could be many possible causes and this can only be diagnosed or excluded by a physical examination and further investigation.

  • gloria

    I have swolloing in my left leg down to my ankle and its been like this for about two years or so. But ever time i go to the doctors he cant tell me why its like this and it hurts very much. And its only on my left side i dont get it. I dont smoke or do drugs. I have high blood puser and asmtha and type two deitic. It hurts alot when its going to rain and when i walk alot and when i try to go up strias. My foot swollos so bad at times that my toes hurt i cant bend them. I been to all kind of doctor and they cant seem to tell me whats wrong can you help me please.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Gloria

      The swelling could be a result of peripheral vascular disease and your doctor may need to do a doppler study to confirm this. Given your history of diabetes and high blood pressure, this is definitely a possibility and the swelling can affect one leg only. The other issue could be related to your gait where you are putting more pressure on the left leg, either because it is the way you naturally walk or due to injury to the right leg forcing you to keep pressure of it. The pain upon exertion could be claudication but with further investigation, your doctor can confirm or exclude possible diagnoses.

  • I have pain in right side under rib near liver and around back….burning across shoulders and now my legs and ankles are swelling…..I am about 40 lbs overweight but I do walk…..I also am an avid drinker of alcohol and I take milk thistle each day, please tell me I am not dying for I have 2 sons and I am so afraid of leaving them…..I dont wanna die from liver disease but please post a comment back and thank you so much in advance……

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Beverlykayrooker

      Your symptoms could be attributed to pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. This gland is often affected by alcohol consumption and can be acute in nature, where there is a sudden onset of symptoms with severe pain as you describe or it can be chronic, following an acute episode or developing slowly over time. You need to see a doctor who will test your pancreas enzymes to confirm or exclude this diagnosis. Another possibility could be liver disease, which has an impact on the circulation and possibly causing the swelling you describe. Once again, a doctor will need to confirm or exclude this as a possible diagnosis.

  • kristen

    Hi. My fiance has recently had surgery to remove a tumor or aneurism in his brain behind his eye about 2 months ago. He is slender and fairly active and 42 yrs. old. He has had a poor diet and has drunk a lot of alcohol over the years, causing some kidney problems, too. His left leg from the hip down is very painful, and now the calf is swollen and is kindof bluish. This has been getting worse for several days, and I am in a different country and I am not there to help him get to the hospital or even demand it. He says he is hopeful that the movement of pain is some sign of healing. Is this a critical situation and should I demand a friend go force him to the hospital?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kristen

      Given his history, a hospital visit is definitely recommended. There could be more serious underlying pathology which is only presenting n this way in the beginning. With time, more serious symptoms may start to appear. It is best to get immediate medical advice and exclude any of the serious causes at the outset.

  • rkpj

    Dr. Chris,
    My mom is currently in her 6th month of her third pregnancy. She has factor 5 and is on lovenox. She has swollen legs and feet, but her right foot has sharp pains in it right under her middle toe and up to her ankle. She was checked for a blood clot in both legs, but nothing showed. It’s getting worse especially at night. Any suggestions on what it could be? and what she can do to help the pain? she does keep her foot proped up when possible and she has tried the compression hoses, but they don’t seem to help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rkpj

      A clot is always the main concern in a case like your mom’s but since this has been excluded, this can put you and your mom at ease. Nevertheless get it checked again in a little while to confirm or exclude a clot.

      Swelling of this sort is common in pregnancy and pain may occur. From what you are describing, it seems quite severe and given her history, she is at a higher risk of complications. Raising the feet as far as possible, avoiding long periods of standing or sitting and compression hoses are the main approach and even though it is not helping, it would not be advisable to consider other therapies for the condition until she delivers the baby. She must continue seeing her doctor as often as necessary and her doctor will advise on other treatment options after she gives birth.

  • TLC

    Hello – I’m a 42yo female, 15 lbs overweight, otherwise healthy. For over 2 weeks now, I’ve had unilateral (R), pitting edema of my lower right leg, ankle, foot. All of the tests ordered by the doctor came back normal (Doppler US, chest x-ray, ankle & knee x-rays, lab tests to check heart & kidneys) – no DVT or Baker’s Cyst found. I’ve been using Epsom salt soaks & have been keeping my leg elevated regularly. I tried wearing a compression stocking one night but woke up in pain so I took it off & haven’t worn it anymore. Swelling has gone down slightly a couple of times when I stayed off my feet for a few days – but, the swelling keeps returning to the point where it’s hard to move my toes or bend my leg at the knee because everything is so tight. My history for this leg involves a broken & healed ankle (avulsion fracture) 4 years ago. Read more of this question and view the answer by Dr. Chris in the article on One Side Right Leg Swelling, Cannot Bend or Move Toes.

  • robg

    My wife has afib, and was on coumadin for several years. In January 2010 she was hospitalized for severe bruising – her coumadin level, previously stable, had taken a big jump. The doctors decided to take her off the drug. Ever since then her legs have been swollen. Do you think there might be a connection?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi RobG

      Please could you elaborate as to what you mean by “her coumadin level”. This is a drug.

      Either way, we cannot make an assessment if one incident is related to a symptoms. That would be irresponsible as we do not know your wife’s entire history and there is probably more information that you may not even be aware of.

      If you have concerns, please discuss it with your doctor as the information you have provided is too limited.

  • TLC

    In response to post by: “gloria on March 22nd, 2010 at 5:13 pm” If you’re still having this problem, mention May Thurner syndrome to your doctor. The main symptom is otherwise unexplained unilateral edema of the left leg and is more commonly found in women. There is a test they can perform for this. Just a thought! Good luck, Tanya

  • robg

    Thanks Dr. Chris. Bad choice of terms – I was talking about her INR level. And that’s not really relevant to the question, which simply put, is:
    Can stopping taking Coumadin (Warfarin) result in swelling of a persons legs?
    I am not asking for a diagnosis – as you suggest, we will handle that with her physician. Nor am I naive enough to think that there would not be other reasons for her leg swelling.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi RobG

      Please understand that we have to be very cautious as to how we respond to questions to prevent liability since this platform does not constitute any form of medical consultation. We have to try our utmost to ensure that readers do not make this assumption so therefore I have had to stress those points in my previous answers.

      To answer your question, yes, stopping warfarin can contribute to leg swelling.

  • Sam

    Hi I am a bit concerned. I am a 25yr old full time mum. In 2006 I had bacteria in the heart valve, kidney failure, blood poisoning, phemonia, blood clots in my lungs and legs all at the same time. I was in hospital for 3 and a half months and nearly died 3 times but luckily they brought me round. Recently I have been having really bad headaches and found 2 lumps on my head. The headaches feel like a mixture of Brain freeze when you eat something cold, my Brain trying to escape my skull and a like a hand pressing down on my brain. The doctor told me I had migrains and gave me dicoflex. It did not agree with me and gave my palpatations as well as other symtoms.

    2 days ago I cut my nails as I had a in grown toe nail I managed to get it out and it appeared to relieve the foot even though the ingrown nail caused me to pain I felt the immediate soothing feeling. Everything was fine until I was going upstairs to bed that night and when I put weight on the toe it was sore. The following morning it became really sore. So much so a light touch made me grit my teeth in agony and a pus was coming out. Not much about a needle eye full it was sticky and yellowish whitish colour. I called my doc and got a appointment that day where I was told it was a infection. I was given penicillan. Thst was yesterday. I have had 2 doses of the penicillin before supper and before bed. At about 4 o’clock this morning I got up for the loo and noticed my foot had swelled nearly double in size from my other foot. I am not over exaggerating it’s huge. My leg is also huge on the same side. And the weird thing is not only is the infected toe sore but my other toes are sore as well and my toes and part of my feet are tingly. I am also experiencing tingling in my right fingers which is the opposite side. My foot feels real hot. Also when I lie down it feels like my heart is in my mouth. It’s quite scary that I was afraid to go back to sleep again.

    I have never Been allergic to penicillin before is it possible that you can change. The last time I was given it was 1-2 years ago. It’s real obvious that I have to get the in touch with my doc asap. Although I am dreading it as I feel they don’t understand my concerns as much as they should. After doing some research on the syptoms the most scary ones is blood clots since I have had a history before. This might have nothing to do with my cutting my toenails the other day maybe it was just a coincidence and it is symtoms to do with my headaches which now never stop. I never get a moments peace unless I take paracetomal which only relieves it for half an hour then it’s back in blinding pain and the world spins. It’s so bad that I want to take another dose of paracetomal as soon as it stops working again which I know I can’t but it’s very tempting will it get to the point where I can’t take the pain anymore and I do take a double dose. I recently have been taking one which still takes the pain away for half an hour or so then I will take the other One which is allowed since u can take 2 at a time but then I have another 5-6 hours before I can do anything about it again.

    The reason I have left a message even though I will
    be contacting my doctor is that you may have another theory and the doctors I am beginning not to trust. I have chest pain which I found out that my Lung collapsed a little. I was told they won’t need to do anything about it since it’s only a little. I asked them what about the pain and I was told to just take a painkiller which is ok for short term use but keep taking painkillers and it will get to your kidneys. Luckily I only get the chest/back pain about 4 times a week. I don’t know what triggers it but it’s sore when I breathe. Even just now as I write. It only lasts a few hours and I won’t get it again until
    tomorrow or the next day. So I don’t have much faith In my doctors and I was hoping that maybe you could give me some advise. Also on my toe there is no sign of a cut. The toe is Clean and the small pus is coming through beside the side nail. When I look at the nail it also looks fine. I can’t see anything wrong with it now I got the nail out of my skin so what’s causing all this. I would love to hear your feedback.

    Regards Sam x

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sam

      There appears to be a lot going on which should prompt more extensive testing rather than just focusing on the condition o symptom of the day.

      You need to confirm with your doctor that they have tested for HIV. Your immune system seems to be compromised from what you say and given your age and the prevalence of HIV infection these days, it should be first excluded.

      Your doctors may then look into a range of other disorders like diabetes, SLE and so on.

      I would not like to comment further on your case because I cannot verify the accuracy of your case history and my answer may therefore be misleading given the complexity of your situation. Secondly, I don’t think any online platform will be of assistance and if you are not happy with your doctor, seek a second opinion. In your case, it is better to visit a physician or a pulmonologist.

      To answer your question on penicillin – any allergy can start up at any time. However it is not common where these type of drug allergies that have suddenly started up later in life will be life threatening as in anaphylaxis.

      This new allergy should start alerting you to the fact that the problem itself may be related to the immune system as some “allergies” do crop up in cases on immune deficiency or autoimmune diseases.

  • Rebecca

    I am 40 yrs old. A week ago I started having pain behind my left knee when I would straighten my leg and walk on it. That pain is gone but it traveled down to my calf. Yesterday I noticed my calf started swelling. Today my leg feels cold inside and a little tingly. Not sure how serious this could be. I don’t have a regular doctor but just had routine labs done by my gyno and everything looked great. I am healthy with no surgeries, no long periods of rest and my last baby was born 18 months ago. I am worried but not sure how wooried I should be.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rebecca

      The cause of the swelling and pain can be numerous. It would be difficult to ascertain the possible cause without further tests and investigations. You need to see a doctor and at this stage of your life, it is important to have a family doctor who is familiar with your past medical and family history. Preferably consult witha doctor who is near to you. Your current situation may or may not be due to a serious cause. Only your doctor will be able to confirm this.

  • Gina

    I am a 50 year old woman with one ankle visibly larger than the other (by almost an inch!) I have had this problem for atleast 5 years. My ankle/leg doesn’t appear to be swollen, just much larger. I exercise regularly and try to control my A1C level. I have had three doctors look at my leg and all have said that its just the way the blood is flowing in my leg. The tissue has changed and not due to any lymphatic disorder and not due to being diabetic. I live in a hot climate so its hard to disguise. Please help me find a solution to my problem.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Gina

      The fact that you are diabetic means that any changes with the “blood flow” or blood vessels in the affected area should first be attributed to your chronic condition – in this case diabetes. Yes, it could be due to other conditions at play but the complications of diabetes should first be ruled out.

      It is worth mentioning that its not a matter of you as the patient “trying” to control the A1c level. You should focus on your glucose levels with proper diet, proper medication and monitoring (three readings per day on your home blood glucose meter) as well as exercise, then you A1c levels will be in check as well. The A1c levels are used to monitor the blood glucose over time. It is simply a tool for a doctor to ascertain whether the patient’s blood glucose levels have been fairly stable over a 3 to 6 month period. For daily reference, it is the blood glucose that is the best method to monitor and assist you, the patient, with controlling your blood glucose levels.

      If one ankle/leg is “larger” than the other then it is most likely due to fluid accumulation in the area. Simply this is swelling. It would be helpful to know if this is pitting or non-pitting edema. If the swelling was due to inflammation, you would have experienced other symptoms like severe pain, redness and heat of the affected area. The lack of these symptoms (I assume) indicates swelling, whether it is of the lymph fluid (lymphedema) or pooling of blood. The latter may be more likely since you say that three doctors have agreed that it is related to the blood flow within the leg. This may be related to a condition like peripheral vascular diseases, which is fairly common in diabetics.

      You should speak to the ONE doctor who is managing your diabetes and he/she will probably refer you to a specialist for further investigation. It is only with these investigative techniques that the cause can be properly identified. Be cautious of cellulitis as well which is also more likely in diabetics as this is a serious infection which you are at a higher risk of developing given your diabetes and sluggish circulation of the leg.

      Find the modalities that aggravate or ease the swelling. This will assist your doctor with identifying the exact cause in addition to investigative techniques like a doppler or x-ray. Take not if raising the leg or resting for long periods helps eases the swelling. Your doctor will be in a better position to advise you further.

  • ajay

    Dear Doctor,

    My mother is suffering from swollen leg.. on both of the leg… i do massage her to bothe of her leg.. on night before sleeping.. she really feels very relaxed…and sleeps very ease…. she says… when i massage her leg… From Knee to Ankle… its pain alot in ankle than knee… the shank is is swollen… but not much pain in here… she also says she has got more pain in the left leg than right…

    She’s suffering from quite 8 months from now…she got diabetic in 2007…

    She Started taking new tablets from 12.04.2010 Like trentol 400,rejvirum,livegen,obimet gx2(this tablet she is taking since almost 1 and half years now and also continuing)

    Previous Prescription From 19.02.2010 to 10.04.2010:
    Peppar30, Nurokind Plus, Calcirol Sachets(every third day with milk), Injection Eldervit,Supracal…

    She sits for a while in one place… but when she’s tries to get up from the place…its really very pain to get up… its pains alot even if she sits for 10 minutes…or even 1 hour… nor she can stand for long…

    She had started walking in the evening… since last week…

    she also tells she tries to get up in the morning for walk but.. its pain alot in the morning too..

    Doctors says she got calcium defficency… and iron too…

    Due to calcium Deficency the nerves of shank pains alot…

    Pls suggest remedy… i want my mom to get alright as early as possible…

    I cant see her pain…

    Pls Suggest… Thanks Ajay

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ajay

      Considering that your mother is diabetic and has swelling of both legs, there is always concern of diabetic nephropathy which is kidney damage as a result of uncontrolled and long term diabetes. She should see a doctor and have a blood test as well as urine test to ensure that kidney damage is not the cause of her swollen legs. Another possibility is cardiac failure because as a diabetic, she is at risk of this as well as peripheral vascular disease. DVT would also be a consideration but given that the swelling is of both legs, this may not be the case. So all these conditions as well as others may cause a painful swelling of both legs. She needs a medical doctor to confirm or exclude these conditions.

      In terms of the calcium and iron deficiency, she should be on a supplement. Ideally she would use a supplement containing both calcium and magensium and vitamin C aids with iron absorption. There is no specific remedy to just stop the leg pain considering all the other factors that has to be taken into consideration here. I would advise that you be cautious about deep and daily massages of the leg, especially if it is DVT. Don’t try home remedies and so on but rather speak to your doctor. Your good intentions may cause more harm given your mother’s state.

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  • megnmari@hotmail.com

    I woke up with my feet and ankles swollen, they are huge! they itch bad im guessing because my skin is being strechted out. My knees are also really hurting, and i have a warm, tingling sensation from my knees to my toes. Im really scared something bad is wrong with me, I have been abusing drugs for quite awhile. I dont have insurance so I cant go the doctor. What should i do? Im very afraid i have liver or kidney damage

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Megnmari
      Bottom line – you need to see a doctor. The itching may be due to the skin stretching and drying but it could also be related to an allergic reaction. There is also the possibility of a skin infection like cellulitis which needs immediate medical attention. Drug abuse can cause heart failure, liver or kidney damage, all of which could lead to swollen legs. Speak to a doctor immediately.

  • Gina

    Dear Dr. Chris,
    In reference to my left leg/ankle being swollen, it is non-pitting edema. My ankle has a dull ache some of the time and exercise does not seem to make it ache/hurt more. Raising my leg, compression stockings/socks, etc. does not seem to ease the swelling. I have now seen my Family Doctor who has referred me to a Vascular Specialist. I am anxious to see if anything (given this could be PAD) to stop the swelling and make it more symmetrical to the other leg/ankle.
    Any thoughts to procedures, etc. that could make the swelling disappear and return to a normal size?
    Thanks for all of your help,

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Gina

      You should see the vascular specialist and have the necessary tests. Once the cause is diagnosed, then the appropriate treatment will assist in settling the swelling. Trying to target the swelling on its own is not helpful for your condition in the long run.

      Non-pitting edema can be indicative of many causes – since I do not know your current health status, basic patient information or past medical history, it would be difficult to list the most likely causes. Non-pitting edema usually indicates lymphedema. You may find this article helpful – Lymphedema.

      The vascular specialist will advise you on the necessary procedures that you will need to undergo.

  • Kay Hall

    I just had surgery on my ankle.Had a slow growing cancer spot removed.I am a diabetic.After 2days from surgery my foot,ankle and part of my leg has swollen.It is very uncomfortable to wear a shoe on that foot.Went to dr. and he is sending me to the wound clinic to have it wrapped.Said I couldn’t do it at home because it has to be done a certain way and I could just worsen the problem if I do it myself.Can you tell me what caused this problem and how to fix the problem.I have been elevating it alot but doesn’t seem to help.What next? Please tell me what is going on?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi KayHall

      This is a common problem after surgery, especially in a person who is diabetic. I cannot conclusively tell you why this is occurring but there are many possibilities. There could be an infection that is causing this or your wound may not be healing properly, possibly complicated by your diabetes. If you had any swelling prior to the surgery, then it could be peripheral vascular disease or lymphedema. In long term cases of poorly managed diabetes, the leg swelling could be a sign of kidney problems. If you doctor has not put you on antibiotics and this swelling only occurred after the surgery, then it is very likely that the wound is not healing properly. You should speak to your doctor about your concerns as he knows your case history.

  • Teri

    Dear Doctor.
    My problems are started about two months ago..when my legs are swelled up.

    One morning I felt very bad…I could hardly walk, and my husband took me to ER.

    My BP was mild high..but any other tests like chest Xray..blood work and ECG came back normal.

    The following monday I visited my GP , who ordered detyailed Blood test again, put me on 24 hours BP monitor etc.

    All the results came back normal exept I’m slightly aenemic.

    Every once in a while – I would say once in a week I feel very tired and having pains all over my body..and I feel feverish. My temperature normal though.

    My legs are still swollen..the worst in the morning.I’m 40 and in the last year I gained 60 pounds due an antidepressant.

    My Gp has sent me to endocrinologist,with suspected cushings.
    However I having concerns about my heart – my dad had heart problems.

    When i told him he said he doesnt think it’s related with my heart.

    Chest Xray ECG and bloodtest are enough to rule out heart failure?

    Another thing i have to wait months for the appt for the endocrinologist..because my insurence doesn’t cover.

    Should I go back to him..and seek something solution?.


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Teri

      If at any time you unsure about any aspect of your treatment or have concerns about your condition, you should go back to your doctor. There is no harm in being attentive. If you read the article on Chest Pain Test, it will outline what tests are necessary. What your doctor has done is probably sufficient but there are other tests like an echocardiogram that may also be helpful. I don’t want to focus on just one test because right now, heart failure has not been fully excluded, nor confirmed.

      Leg swelling is not only caused by heart conditions. Your doctor has sent you to an endocrinologist based on other clinical findings that you may not be aware of. Speak to your doctor about it and the reasons for his suspicions but ensure that you see it through i.e. the endocrinologist visit.

  • Fast Great

    I m 30 year old male. Recently i loss sensation for a fraction of second for right arm, I m non diabetic, I am also non-overweight. I feel my right hand is little bit loosy than left hand, left one is perfect but there is a issue with right hand, i seen a doctor he prescirbes nurokind plus 1 cap for 30 days, i wonder if i can avoid taking it and can rely on natural pill. i m non-smoker, non-drinker. I am streesful computer engineer. i feel very very little looosy right leg too. Are there any adverse effect of nurokind plus, i find from web that it is ban before 20 years something. Please guide us.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Fast Great

      I cannot comment on any specific drug. These questions should be directed at your doctor or pharmacist.

      Ideally with your condition, you should have had further investigations. Ask your doctor about what other tests you should go to. I am a bit unsure about what you are trying to say – the word ‘loosy’?????

      If you mean weakness then there are many possible causes. The loss of sensation would indicate a possible neurological cause. Given your age and since it is not diabetes, it is a cause for concern. This episode where you experienced a sudden but short lived loss of sensation may sometimes be associated with a TIA (transient ischemia attack) – reduced blood supply to the brain. This is not common in your age group but not impossible. Another possible cause could be a pinched nerve. Considering your occupation, it could be localized inflammation of a nerve in the upper limb or even carpal tunnel syndrome.

      Speak to your doctor and he should send you for more tests to confirm a diagnosis. Either way, he should have told you what he suspects or has diagnosed since he has already commenced with treatment.

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  • Christine_wareing


    I am a 26 year old female weighing 133pds. My husband and my friends noticed the other day that my left leg and ankle is bigger then the other(swollen). It is very noticeable, but there is no pain. I have always had a problem with bad circulation and my feet and ankles go purple when I’m cold. I also have low blood pressure, but I have never had any concerns with anything and do not take any medication. I did however have kidney stones last year, if that matters at all? Please advise..


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Christine

      If you have had ‘bad circulation’ you should have seen swelling prior to this. It may not have been pronounced but least some swelling after a day at work, etc.
      The term bad circulation is a broad term to explain any number of conditions related to circulation. You have to see a doctor who will do further investigations, like a doppler study, to assess the functioning of your blood vessels of the leg. There is too many possibilities for what could be causing this leg swelling and without your medical history and test results, it would be difficult to say.

      For your age, it could just be overuse or it may even be related to varicose veins. “Purple” discoloration may also be a sign of anemia. You need to see a doctor.

  • mlochala

    Dear Dr.,

    Hi, I’m a 37 year old male who is recovering from an unfortunate ATV accident in which I shattered my right shoulder. Further complications I experienced from this accident included a massive blood clot in my right leg and blood clots in my lungs.

    My Dr. put me on Lovenox & Coumadin at first, but now I’m only taking 15mg of Coumadin per day. This will continue for at least the next six months. My INR is currently 2.7. It’s been about two weeks since I was released from the hospital and I am taking no other meds.

    What I am experiencing now is extreme swelling in my right leg, ankle and foot. It was swollen before when I was released from the hospital, but seems to have gotten worse since I have been home. Also, there is now a lot of red marks (similar to a rash) on my right leg starting from the ankle going almost up to my knee.

    My questions are: first, is it normal for the swelling to continue to increase? I understand swelling is a normal part of this type of injury (especially with the blood clot), but should it be getting worse at this point?

    Second, is this “rash” normal or could this be totally unrelated to my injuries?

    Thank you very much!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mlochala

      Swelling may persist for a period of time and fluctuate slightly but if it is getting progressively worse, then you should see your doctor immediately. Your sores may be infected and you could develop into cellulitis. The rash can be related to the drugs or the swelling. But this may be the least of your problems. Please see your doctor immediately.

  • mlochala

    Dear Dr.,

    I forgot one other detail. On my right leg that is so swollen, there is also a clear liquid that is oozing from one of my sores (from the accident).

    By the way, this accident happened four weeks ago, if it makes any difference.

    Thanks again…

  • muneera suliman

    dear dr.
    im 29, mother of 2: 1 year and 2 years and 2 months… I used to work field job… but im a housewife now. im 29 year old, 162 cm hight and 73 kg weight which was 80 kg at my last pregnancy…
    What I am experiencing now is a noticeable swelling in my left leg, ankle and foot. It seems to have gotten worse every time I got irritated or depressed & this mainly started 5 months ago gradually getting increased for a while at the beginning; but its permanent now especially on the ankle where I got pain form time to time..
    I feel some warm heat of my skin and dryness pale and sometimes I can’t move my toes because its swollen as well…
    I went to doctor and he told me after I made my check up; I don’t have any problem.
    And in what regards to the blood vessels; I did an ultrasound and “gamma” but the doctor’s final answer is the reason still unknown and I should ware a pressing socks for 3 months… which really I didn’t follow…
    I remember that my feet swollen only when I’m pregnant and I always diagnoses by the low blood pressure back then… I usually have cramping during my sleep or in the morning while I was pregnant and after that for more that 6 months…
    I don’t know if this is because of the major family crises that I have been through last Christmas and which I still suffer till now… I mean; is psychological pain cause by continues stress cause this physiological condition??
    Ps: I have pain in my middle part of my chest form time to time that sometimes last for 3 min and more and prevent me form taking a complete breathing inhale
    Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Muneera

      From the details you provide, you are overweight so circulatory problems are going to arise. Given that you recently had 2 pregnancies, this could very much be related to varicose veins. You need to wear the compression stockings for a period of time in order to see if it works. Swelling to the point that you cannot move the toes is serious and whether you are comfortable or not with the stockings, you need to use it before this situation complicates further. The concern here is that you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath and swelling of the legs. If it was just chest pain and shortness of breath when you are stressed, then you could assume that it is just anxiety that is causing these symptoms. But the swelling also aggravating when you are stressed indicates that there is more going on that you may realize. The stress hormones have a number of effects, even on the blood vessels, but the most concerning is that it impacts on the heart. Despite your age, cardiac problems are a possibility and you need to see a doctor to exclude any serious heart related problems.

  • muneera suliman

    Thank you Dr.

  • Ebron215

    I have swelling in my left leg and at the end of my leg it is red. My right leg was swollen but it went down after I lay down and prox my legs on pillows. My left leg has a feeling in it but no pain. went i press on my leg it leaves and impression on both legs. I take lisinopril/hctz. I just noticed this lately because everything was alright until the doctor told me to take only one of my lisinopril when i was originally taking 2. I am afraid that I might have a blood clot is there any symptoms for blood clot. Sometimes I get shortwinded when I climb stairs or do to much and yet I am overweight. I was thinking about going to the hospital because I get scare real easy. I have my blood tested for heart I think they called it an enzime test and it was normal. please help

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ebron

      The drugs that you are taking are for hypertension and swelling. The swelling could be due to heart failure and you should see your doctor about it. The lower dosage may be the reason why you are experiencing the swelling and it may not be a blood clot. The tiredness you feel from walking could also be a sign of heart failure and there could be some fluid in the lungs as well. If you find that your doctor is not assisting you, then seek a second opinion. At this point though, I would recommend that you see a cardiologist.

  • Rin

    Dr. Chris,

    My fiancé’s lower limbs have been swollen for quite some time now. This is the second year in a row, but this summer it is worse. It went away for a while, but now it’s back. She has pitting edema. The swelling is worst in the feet and the tops have been turning red lately. She doesn’t wear shoes right now, just flip flops. When she elevates them, then the swelling of course moves up into the thigh area. She has been to several specialists and none of them can figure out what is wrong. She is currently taking a diuretic. It’s not helping that much. They’ve eliminated kidney problems from blood/urine work and a doppler was performed. Everything checked out on the doppler, but another one is being done today. I am starting to become very concerned about this. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rin

      You don’t mention your fiance’s age, medical history, weight or whether she is pregnant or not (I assume not). This could be associated with varicose veins but it could be related to more serious conditions like that of the liver, heart or thyroid gland. It is difficult to say without doing further tests and investigations. Rather she goes through the second doppler and if it is then inconclusive, the doctor will consider other tests. Sometimes changes in weather (hot weather) can cause mild edema but should not be as severe as you describe.

  • Lila

    Dear Doctor,

    About a year ago I noticed my left leg below the knee was swelling up. It is noticably larger than my right leg. It doesn’t really hurt and the size doesn’t change (it isn’t better or worse at any particular time of day). I don’t feel comfortable wearing shorts and am becoming quite self-conscious about it.
    I finally saw my family doctor and she said that some people just develop this and unfortunately I will have to live with it.
    Is there any hope???

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Lila

      I cannot answer this without knowing results of tests and investigations that your doctor should have run like a doppler. You don’t mention your age, medical history or even your gender (cannot make an assumption by your pen name). The best way to find out is to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

  • Teresa

    In 2001 I was involved in a car accident which crushed my tibial plateau and broke several other bones in my leg, ankle and foot. I’m now 41 yrs old and I have started to notice headaches which are followed by severe swelling in my foot, ankle and calf. Odd things is, this swelling is mainly happening in my L leg and it was my R leg that was injured. The L only sustained small fractures.
    As far as my habits…I do smoke, I drink about 3 times a week, and I eat whatever I want whenever I want. I’m 5’6″ and weigh roughly 160lbs perhaps. I do not have a regimented workout routine but I do stay mildly active gardening, cleaning house and with other daily chores. My question is, could I possibly have a blood clot(s) now…almost 10 yrs after my accident? I had them before. This has been happening every month over the past 6 months. Is this something I should be concerned about? My gait has changed due to the surgery and implants placed in my R leg. So I do put more stress on the left leg. I’m wondering if I’m just overreacting. I have medical ins but rarely go to the doctor due to financial constraints since leaving my Gov’t job on early retirement disability. Any advice would be helpful.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Teresa

      It is possible that this is occurring due to the change in gait and your left leg is therefore taking more of a strain. This force transmits up the spinal column so it can account for neck and/or back muscle spasm which could account for your headache. These are just possibilities and have not been diagnosed so you should see an orthopedic specialist. However given your age and smoking (and probably even drinking depending on the quantity), there is a risk of a clot. At this point (after 6 months), you should have been experiencing more pronounced symptoms and some pain but it can remain fairly ‘silent’ for a period of time. You will need to see a doctor and have a doppler to confirm this. The issue of heart failure is also a consideration as well as other cardiovascular conditions so I would advise that you first see a cardiologist before consulting with an orthopedic.

      Financial constraints are always an issue unfortunately but as you move into these years of your life, it is important not to leave any initial symptoms unchecked. There are other conditions that could account for these symptoms but overall you need to see a doctor (preferably a specialist) in order to determine this. I would advise that you do not wait for a long period of time to do this as 6 months has already passed. It may be less serious than a cardiac condition – possibly your small fractures on the left did not heal properly or the start of osteoporosis or arthritis is contributing to some of these symptoms.

  • doownelg

    My son broke his tib & fib 2 weeks ago this sunday had rod and screws inserted.Bandage removed yesterday and happy with the xray.But last night his foot swelled and turned slightly blue and ls still blue today swelling has gone down as he has kept it elevated should I be worried and get it seen to Thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Doownleg

      Swelling would be expected for a while to come and there may also be some disruption in the blood flow (hence the bluish tinge) initially. However at this point it should be easing and I would advise that you get it checked. It may not be serious and there is probably nothing to worry about at this stage – could just be a matter of a cold environment coupled with less movement – but rather be cautious and speak to a doctor.

  • Paul

    I’ve had lower leg edema for past six months. Doctor said it’s due mostly to hypertension and being overweight. Echo showed very mild hypertrothy of left vent wall. Had a doppler done on lower leg as well. Said flow is ok but very large veins. Is problem a combination of these

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Paul

      Yes, it is a combination of all these factors – mainly the ventricular enlargement and distended veins. You should realize that apart from the swelling, these results indicate a progressing cardiac condition which needs proper medical treatment and management.

  • tiffany

    I am 35 years old, 5’2″, and 133lbs, I have high blood pressure and endometriosis. I am a smoker. I have had mild swelling in calves and feet. All blood work and tests showed no major organ problems. My doctor put me on 20mg lasix to control swelling and It has been fine for the last year until a little over 2 weeks ago. I also take 5 mg bystolic for bp, and yaz coninuously (i skip the placebo). 2 weeks ago, I went camping, and went swimming in freshwater lake. I noticed that evening after swimming, i had a bright red rash on both of my feet. They did not hurt, itch, or feel sunburnt. I did not see any bite marks. I did have a couple of blisters, one on each foot that I had gotten earlier that week from some new shoes. within the next couple of days, my feet became very swollen, more red, and painful to walk on. I went to the doctor. He did not think it looked like a sunburn. He did a lot of bloodwork. Checked for diabetis, thyroid, cbc, arthritis, lyme. Everything checked ok. I did xrays, no fractures, but soft tissue inflamed, so he put me on augmentin, assuming infection. After 5 days on augmentin antibiotics and no improvement to color or swelling, he referred me to a vascular doctor. The vascular doctor, checked and said my foot pulse was much weaker than he would have expected, but he felt it was an infection and he put me on keflex and a steroid cream. The cream made my feet burn and itch, so I stopped using it. After a couple of days of keflex, my feet started looking better, colorwise. But now, 5 days on keflex and they are severely swollen again, red patches are back and the red skin has white patches on it and some spots it started peeling. My calves are swollen too. When i am sitting with feet on floor or standing still, it gets worse, turns more purple and swells. Swelling and discoloration improves with feet elevated or when walking. They do not hurt much anymore, but have tingling pins and needles feeling. I am having doppler later this week. Does this sound like infection and maybe I need a different antibiotic? Could it be related to endometriosis? Do you have any other ideas what could be causing this? Any advice on controlling the swelling, its driving me nuts! btw, the blisters have heeled.

  • BeeJay

    Hi Dr

    I am a 49yr old female, a little over a year ago I had surgery on my left foot, each toe was opened and straightened, 15mos later I still get swelling and burning in the foot, most of the swelling seems to be in the soft tissue underneath. also my ankle sometimes burn. I had not problems before the surgery, what do you think is going on? BTW the big toe does not bend up and it only bends half way down. Help me please

    Thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi BeeJay

      You don’t mention your past medical history so I cannot provide you with a complete answer. Nerve injury and inflammation could account for this burning sensation and if you have any issues with your peripheral circulation, this may account for the swelling. There is many reasons why your symptoms are occurring but you need a doctor to attend to it. Given your age, you should be cautious about other more serious conditions starting up.

  • Reggie

    My father has been experiencing swelling of his ankles, toes and lower leg. He saw a doctor and he told him to just use some compression socks. My father has been using the socks for several days now, more than 6 hrs, and the swelling is still present. He is also experiencing excessive burping and some part of his groin looks to be swollen/enlarged as well. He has seen his Urologist and he did not think anything was wrong with him. Could it be his medication, Hytrin, that could be causing this symptoms or something else like his liver (he has had hepatitis in the past)? Please help. Any suggestions on getting the swelling down and under control? Thanks.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Reggie

      It is difficult to understand why the urologist “did not think” that anything was wrong without doing tests to confirm this. And if so, what tests were done and what were the results. You do not mention your father’s age or past medical history except for the hepatitis. It is possible that the medication is causing this but you should be aware that the liver plays and essential role in blood circulation. It is never a matter of just bringing down the swelling. This is a symptom of possibly a more serious condition and it should be monitored by the doctor. It would be advisable to see a cardiologist as well. Elevating the leg would only offer short term relief for the swelling. The compression stockings are essential – 6 hours a day is insufficient and this is not a short term measure.

  • JMC


    Only a few weeks ago I noticed swelling of the left foot, ankle and lower leg. The weather has been really warm lately and I’d put it down to that (along with being 40 now I figured it was just a case of I’m no spring chicken anymore!!LOL) Elevating to body level does help. I’ve not been to my GP yet as I didn’t see any need, I don’t feel unwell, it’s more inconvenient and embarrassing than anything else.

    Do you think I should have this investigated? I’m 40 years old, 5ft 8in, pretty average size 14, no adverse medical history.


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi JMC

      Mild swelling of the lower is more likely to occur in hot weather but it since it is happening in only one leg, I would definitely advise that you have it investigated further. Apart from this, the fact that you are now 40 years puts you in a high risk group (just based on your age alone) for many cardiovascular conditions of which leg swelling can be a symptoms. Although you have been healthy up until now, remember that family history is also a consideration. As you have said, you are no longer a “spring chicken” 🙂 so now is the time that you have to be more vigilant. I always advise patients that are 40 years and over to go for a full physical every year as it is the best way to detect any disease in the early stages. This should include investigations like a stress ECG (heart), glucose tolerance test (diabetes), cholesterol levels and so on.

  • pumpkin

    I am 26 years old and 9months preganant and my feet and legs are swollen really bad my doctor says to elevate them that does not seem to help I am still working and sit a lot what can I do to help or what should I do?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Pumpkin

      Unfortunately this is common in pregnancy. Your doctor is correct about elevating the legs and try not to walk around too much. Don’t attempt to use any medication, herbal supplements or home remedies at this stage of your pregnancy. It could trigger labor and affect your baby. Just bear with it for now but if you are experiencing severe pain or numbness or any significant change in the color of your feet (particularly a bluish tinge) then go back to your doctor.

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  • Shafique

    Hello there, my mother has swollen legs as well as severe pain on both of her legs all the times. She had an accident with her right knee, after operation she started feeling bad on that particular knee. After years, she started having problem on the other knee and had severe pain but the faulty knee went fine. I had taken her to several doctors but nobody could actually give a solution. She was been through physiotherapy after she was told by a doctor that she could have arthritis. Recently her legs color changed to blue and they are a bit bended. She can hardly walk. Her age is 53, she is overweight, doesn’t have diabetes. It will be helpful if you could give me some suggestion.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Shafique

      Your mother needs to see an orthopedic surgeon (orthopedist). There is a possibility that this could be related to peripheral arterial disease or some other cause restricting the blood flow to the leg, hence the blue color, but there may also be some musculoskeletal problem that has passed by unnoticed. Age is always a consideration and since she is overweight, this further complicates the matter. It is possible that she has altered her gait to compensate for the leg injury after the accident and this put a lot of strain on the other leg and now it is showing signs of inflammation. It could be arthritis as well. Only a doctor can tell you conclusively after doing an x-ray and possibly a doppler as well. See a doctor as soon as possible. The blue dicoloration is not a good sign and needs immediate attention.

  • shahid

    Dear Doctor,
    I ofently found sweling and pain in both legs usually when I use Indian sheet for bowl movment within a 4-5 min time when i stand up I feel 80 years old u can imazine how much weakness i feel then after 4-5 min of walking pain disappears. swalling also occurs when i sit for longer time on chair.

    • Dr. Chris


      I am not sure what exactly your question is but given your age, I would advise that you speak to a doctor about any new symptoms that you have noticed as they can quickly progress and become debilitating at this stage of your life.

  • Hello. I am a 50yr old female, 220lbs, but otherwise in good condition. I have my blood checked twice a year – all looks good there. Recently I have developed swelling in my left ankle area. Actually, it first began with legs cramps during the night – mostly on the top of my left foot. It hurts to extend my foot – not terribly, just uncomfortable. I do sit mostly at work, and do not get enough exercise ( I was treadmilling 5 days a week, but stopped when I went on vacation last month, and have not restarted). I don’t really have pain or anything when I walk. The only meds I take are a very low dose of Lovastatin, Loratadine for allergy, and aspirin. I do have any appoint ment with my doctor, but this is a very small town – and a very small town doctor. I was hoping to get some suggestions that I could bring to him – or recommendations on what type of doctor to see – he is a GP. Thank you for your time and help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Looking_for-Info

      You don’t mention your height but for the average female, you are overweight and approaching obesity. This alone can put significant strain on your joints, like the ankle, impair peripheral circulation and contribute to a range of disorders, any of which could cause this leg swelling. Your doctor will need to conduct a doppler and take all these factors into consideration. Given you body weight and coupled with the fact that you have a high cholesterol level (which is why you use Lovastatin), you are already at significant risk of cardiovascular disorders and leg swelling could the first symptoms. Since you are over 40 years old, the risk is even greater.

      However, with that said, it could also be due to something benign like an ankle sprain, nutrient deficiency, hormonal imbalance or just varicose veins. A lot depends on the clinical evaluation so it is best that you leave it in the hands of your doctor rather than confusing the situation. Even small town doctors know what they are doing. 🙂 So I am sure you are in good hands.

  • jaybird0143

    Hey doctor,I come home from work today and i took my socks off and my dad noticed that my socks had left rings around my ankles or calves where my socks were.I have also noticed that both of my big toes have been numb lately.My Mom works for a local doctor around the city of Gulfport.She told me that i had poor circulation and need to be drinking plenty of water.I am 31 yrs old 5ft 10 155 pounds.I was just curious if this is the sighn of a blood clot or is it just poor circulation.Thanks for the help

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jaybird0143

      Your mom is not wrong, this MAY be due to poor circulation and related disorders but this has to be confirmed by a doctor. Drinking water will not necessarily help. In fact, if you are retaining fluid, drinking excessive amounts of water can aggravate the problem further. Given that you are of a normal weight, hopefully active and in fairly good health, this should not be occurring. The odd minor foot swelling during hot weather or after a long day of walking or standing is not a cause for concern but if the swelling is persisting then it needs to be investigated. The numbness though is a cause for concern. It does indicate either a nerve related problem (possibly related to diabetes, pinched nerve) or poor blood supply to an area. Once again, this is dependent on each individual case and the severity of the symptoms. Whether it is due to a blood clot or poor circulation (I cannot say on this platform), it needs to be investigated by a doctor. Also take note that tight shoes or socks can also cause many of your symptoms.

      You can take a look at these articles for more information on blood clots :
      What is a blood clot?
      Blood Clot in the Leg – Signs and Symptoms

  • Tammy

    I am 41 years old and I have a problem that concerns me. About 7 years ago I started having pitting edema from my knees down. I have gone to 6 doctors and each one has run a couple tests and came up with bad veins as my diagnosis. I have an irregular heartbeat and hypothyroid. I had a complete hysterectomy at the age of 33. The doctors have dismissed those as any contributor to my swelling problems. I am on a low dose diuretic and it doesn’t seem to be helping. I have recently started having trouble walking for any distance. My legs feel like I’m dragging logs behind them, they feel so heavy. I have cut out salt, sodas, and I prop them up when I can. Is there anything else I can do?
    Please help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tammy

      It depends on whether this “heavy” feeling is accompanied by swelling or if it exists on its own without any swelling or very slight swelling now that you are using a diuretic. Pitting edema is usually associated with vascular disorders, although hypothyroidism, menopause and other cardiac, kidney and endocrine problems may also be contributing to it – some of these also cause non-pitting edema. However, we will ignore that for now if you doctors can so confidently exclude it. If the swelling is present, you may benefit from using compressions stockings. However speak to your doctor about it first. While these stockings may not be comfortable, it is necessary. When you prop your feet up, it’s also important to ensure that the height of your feet is at least in line with your pelvis, if not higher.

      The fact that you are experiencing the effects of the conditions that you have to this extent at 41 may indicate that some of your conditions are being poorly managed. I would advise that you see both a cardiologist and endocrinologist. A diabetes test and cholesterol tests (lipid profile) may also be worth considering given your history. If you have not been as strict with yourself in terms of diet, taking your meds or getting moderate exercise, it’s time that you do so. Don’t strain yourself at first. The “heaviness” may not even be due to the edema – it could be related to a neurological disorder like a pinched nerve. Only your doctor can advise you accordingly.

  • clare

    hi im clare im 34 i had an opperation on my bum to remove a deep cyst and it left me with a numb bum,since i had my opp, well a few weeks later i get swelling feet,ankles,toes and a litle in the legs,do you think it was my opp that caused it,if not what.thank you clare from kent.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Clare

      Post-operative swelling, particularly of the limbs, is not as infrequent as one would think. However, if it was related to the surgery, it should have been evident immediately after the procedure. This could be related to mechanical causes like a blood clot, severed lymph duct and so on. Alternatively it may be a consequence of the medication administered while you were in hospital – in this case, it should have settled within a few days/weeks.

      What does come into question here is what other underlying conditions you may have. If you are diabetic, have vascular conditions or if you are overweight, then the swelling could be due to these factors. The surgery may have aggravated it but not caused it. Only your doctor can conclusively identify the cause after examining you and running relevant tests if necessary. You should see your doctor as soon as possible. Also report the numbness. This is important as well.

  • rsanders

    My neighbor has very swallen legs and now one of them busted and lot of liquids came out. What shall she do?

  • rsanders

    Also her legs are swallen shinny and tight. What does my neighbor need to do. How can she keep her legs from being infected for the open wound that let out all the liquids?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rsanders

      She needs to see a doctor immediately. Home care at this stage, now that it is an open wound, will be able to help effectively and can lead to a host of complications. If she does not get treatment as soon as possible, it can result in gangrene or eventually lead to septicemia (blood poisoning) and even death. Immediate medical attention is needed.

  • kathryn

    I am a 62 year old female. My profession as an elementary school teacher requires standing for 5-1/2 hours every day. My ankles swell by the end of the day, but the left one looks like an elephant foot and I get red blotches on the inner calf. It takes from Friday evening into Sunday morning for it to go back to normal by elevating it and staying off my feet. What kind of doctor do I need to see. My family doctor doesn’t seemed too concerned. I also have a left knee with torn horizontal meniscus tear and spinal stenosis. What type of specialist do I need to see for the foot swelling?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kathryn

      This sounds very much like peripheral vascular disease. Ask your doctor for a referral to a physician, who can assess and treat both conditions. You may need to see an orthopedist (orthopedic surgeon) for the tear and stenosis and he may refer you to a vascular specialist (vascular physician/surgeon) for further assessment if necessary.

  • sgrover21

    My father is 65 years old, he has edema in both his legs, sometimes water oozes out from his legs, skin is peeling off, doctor usually ties huge bandage on both his legs. It has been going on since past 2 years, sometimes it gets better for a month or two but mostly it has been there since last 2 years.He takes antibiotics as well but nothing is helping. He has a sitting job and for almost 12 hours he cannot elevate his legs. what is the way out. Please can you provide some suggestions.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sgrover

      Your father needs to see a medical specialist. He may have PVD (peripheral vascular disease) and an infection may be ongoing. Of course, it could also be a skin disease and a secondary bacterial infection. It is difficult to say without seeing it in person. The fact that this has been ongoing with little improvement and no change in therapy is being considered should prompt you to seek a second opinion, preferably from a specialist. Consult with a specialist physician and probably a dermatologist as well.

  • Kyna

    I banged my knee at work on the edge of my desk, and my leg from the knee down is swollen. It’s been a week & 2 days now & I can’t walk at all without my crutches. I have had a ultrasound and no blood clots were found. I also had an MRI, the results showed just a bruise on my knee. My foot is completely swollen & it stays freezing cold, is there any other test I should have done, how long will it take for me to walk again?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kyna

      An ultrasound and a MRI are the correct imaging techniques that should have been done. The cause of the swelling would most likely be a blood clot and even if it has not been identified at the time of these investigations, you should have it repeated should this condition persists. The fact that it is cold and you do not have any indication of a fever or other signs and symptoms of an infection still makes a blood clot the most likely diagnosis. If the swelling is not going down, you will have to go back to your doctor for further investigation. It is difficult to say how long it will take to walk again without knowing the exact cause of your symptoms. It is unlikely just a case of trauma to the knee unless you had some other pre-existing condition or there is more to the situation than you are aware of.

  • Jenny

    Dr. Chris,
    I am a relatively healthy 42 year old woman who is maybe 20 lbs. overweight. Up until June of this year I was running 3-4 times per week for 3-4 miles at a time. I use good running shoes and walk before and after the run to warm up/cool down. In June I ran a 5K race and really pushed myself to get a good time. After the race I noticed some pain and slight swelling right behind my left ankle bone. I rested my leg for about a week and a half and then tried another run. The pain returned so I stopped. I didn’t run then all summer as I waited for the swelling to go down. Finally in September I was able to begin walking and then a little running without any discomfort. Last week I ran twice, the first time on cement with no side effects and the second time on a trail. After the second time, I spent the day in unsupportive shoes doing a lot of walking and that night my feet were swollen huge, the left one larger than the right. I rested again and about three days later I cleaned my house in flip flops and that night my feet were huge again. I saw my doc yesterday and their first fear was a blood clot, but the ultrasound showed nothing. By last night they were huge again. I have no health issues although lately I’ve noticed I’ve been more tired than usual, thirsty, nauseous, achy and moody. Some of these symptoms I attribute to withdrawing from a DepoProvera shot I had in June, but I can’t figure out why my feet are always swelling. I’m not sure if I should continue to hound my regular doc for tests for diabetes and heart disease or if I should go to a sports doc to look for an injury. I should also mention that I wore flip flops a lot this summer and then I switched to Tevas and tennis shoes and noticed the swelling behind my ankle went down quickly.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jenny

      Leg swelling may at times be associated with hormonal changes, medication but its unlikely that it is due to the Depo injection given your fluctuating symptoms. A blood clot is the most logical assumption since it was of such sudden onset. It may worth evaluating again at a later stage. Given your active lifestyle, I would advise that you see an orthopedist (orthopedic surgeon) or sports physician if you have one in your area. First exclude a musculoskeletal cause, infection or insect bite. If it was diabetes or heart disease you would have noticed some other symptoms or it would have developed more gradually. Nevertheless it is worth assessing since you are in an age group where these chronic conditions can start up.

  • Jenny

    Thanks Dr. Chris. I will see a sports physician.

  • joe

    I am a 51 year old male, smoker, and I consume 6-8 cokes daily. My problem began August 11. I am a teacher who spent the entire summer sitting in a chair for long periods of time, or on my bed with my laptop preparing power-point presentation lessons. On the 11th I returned to work wearing new Dr. Scholl’s shoes from Walmart, driving a new used Honda with a stiff clutch, and to a standing position for the better part of the day. Over the summer I did exercise frequently by walking the apartment stairs and doing situps. The weekend before returning to work, while doing situps, I felt a pop behind my left leg and knee. There was no pain but I did stop. Upon returning to work I began feeling pain in my left calf. Gradually the pain has worsened over the past 10 weeks. I have visited forums and paid attention to others’ advice. I use an ice pack, elevate my leg,take 1 Naproxin daily (my wife’s), use Icy-Hot and eat healthy. This helps a bit but by 1PM I am in terrible pain. Last night I took one of my wife’s potassium pills, stopped by CVS Pharmacy today and bought Centrum Silver, Licorice, and Epsom Salts. Immediately upon arriving home, I took a nice long, hot soak in the tub. No relief. Next I took a Centrum pill, a garlic gel capsule, and drank some pickle juice. A liitle relief but not much. My next task was to elevate the leg while resting it on an icepack atop 2 pillows. Still not much relief. The swelling has not subsided, the pain is intense and the swelling persistent. Finally, I took one of my wife’s muscle relaxers which has helped a lot. I feel better for the moment but it is not a cure. I am not diabetic, have a strong heart, not prescribed any medications by any doctors. Your advice would be appreciated.


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Joe

      Firstly, I am going to ignore much about what you said about the measures you took in an attempt to treat this without seeing a doctor. Self-medicating is dangerous. Secondly, using another person’s prescribed medication is a very dangerous and foolish practice. Medicine is not about one size fits all despite the belief of most non-medically trained people.

      This swelling could definitely be musculoskeletal but what is a bigger concern here is the possibility of a blood clot. This may be impairing the circulation in the leg hence the swelling. Given your age, your history of a sedentary lifestyle for the summer and your excess consumptions of caffeinated products (which act as diuretics), a blood clot if a very likely possibility. You need to see your doctor, have a scan and exclude any cause of blockage. It may be musculuoskeletal but you will only know this once you exclude a more serious cause. See your doctor immediately. Taking your time to do so can lead to a host of complications like a stroke or heart attack should the blood clot (if existent) dislodges from its original site.

  • BayleighB

    I have this fluid filled knot on my leg right above my ankle, its been there for about a week and a half i have not hit my leg or anything it just showed up and it’s starting to hurt my foot and i have this burning sensation in my foot. Should I go see my doctor?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Bayleigh8

      The fact that it came up suddenly and is causing pain/burning in the foot should prompt you to see a doctor. It may be an abscess or even the start fo cellulitis although it would have been preceded by some injury in some cases. A clot is also a possibility but you should have noticed some swelling (venous) or coldness of the foot (arterial) at this point. See your doctor.

  • FRMijac1211

    It first started out May 2010 with swelling in my calves,ankles & feet.. would come and go, on and off.. then in June 2010, I started getting a purplish rash, like hives, on my legs, from waist to ankles.. sometimes when swollen it would be painful, burning aching feeling, almost like pins and needles but worse.. it would really itch right before the swelling would start.. then it would last for like 3 or 4 days then start to subside.. it would never go away completely.. then like 3 days later I would get the itching again and the swelling would pick back up again… I’ve been to the ER 3 times already, and each time they told me it was Cellulitis gave me antibiotics and sent me home.. I did a follow up appt. with my family doctor while still taking the anti biotics.. It’s now been 7 months and it’s only getting worse, now I’m starting to have problems with my bowels, feels like i have to go but nothing comes out.. I’m at my wits end here, I don’t know what else to do, plus I don’t have health insurance…

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi FRMijac1211

      If it was diagnosed as cellulitis then it most probably is. It is unlikely that the doctor’s would make a mistake 3 times in a row. It is important to identify the cause of the recurrent cellulitis. From your initial symptoms, it appears that you may have peripheral vascular disease. This means that the circulation to your legs is impaired and this needs to be investigated and treated. Peripheral vascular disease is one of the risk factors for recurrent cellulitis and unless this or any other underlying condition is not treated, it is likely that the cellulitis will recur. You should consult with a vascular specialist if possible and speak to your doctor about a possible cause of this recurring cellulitis.

  • Saffire

    I had a total hip replacement Nov 19th and left the hospital bout nov 24th. i didn’t notice til a day or 2 later that my left foot where i had my replacement was very dark blue. and as the days went by my friend would check on it and make me keep it elevated but it just looks like it’s getting worse now i have black and blue bruises going up my leg and only really feels swolleen at night. could it be cuz i have not really rested since surgery always walking and standing? because i can’t sit or lay down for to long because it bothers my hip. and around where i had my surgery its fine theres no bruises or anything.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Saffire

      See your surgeon immediately. There are a couple of possibility that may have caused this. A blood clot or clots could be blocking some of the blood draining out of the leg (veins). These may be small clots so while it is not causes as pronounced symptoms as mentioned in Venous Stasis, it may still be affecting blood flow to a significant degree. Another possibility, apart from clots or compromised veins, is that the medication your are using is affecting blood flow in a number of ways. Despite the fact that your hip is bruise free, the veins or even arteries (less likely or you would experiencing more acute symptoms) is being affected. Prompt medical attention should be sought just as a precautionary measure. It may resolve on its own but do not leave it unattended just in case it can lead to further complications.

  • Bri

    My friend has a really weird problem with her right leg. She’s gone through a lot of doctors and noone knows what her problem is. Her leg has been constantly swollen all the way to her foot for now 2 years straight. She has all of the symtoms above mentioned.
    She is only 15 years old and started with this problem in January of 2009.
    We are in desperate need of any advice from a doctore or someone that has expirience this issue.
    Appreciate your help on this.
    Thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Bri

      Not sure which symptoms you are referring to because there are a number of conditions mentioned above. If the range of investigations have been done and proven to be inconclusive, this could be related to a circulatory problem which is common even in teens who are obese or sedentary. Nevertheless she needs to see a doctor who can examine and diagnose the cause. If she is not getting any answers from her family doctor, she should try to see a specialist physician at this point.

  • Michelle

    I need help. About 23 years ago I got hit by a car. I had major damage to my left side of my body. I had 2 pins and staples and had my tendons put togther again. I have had swelling in this leg since I could remember. Well 3 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with rhematoid arthritis. I am on Plaqenail and Sulfdazine. Advil is my best friend and helps alot. Since my leg swells, so does my foot. I now have a large bunion. I am also having alot of ankle pain and swelling. What research I have done says that the bunion can be causing the ankle swelling. Because I tend not to walk even on this leg. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you Michelle

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      In your case, you have to consider that your RA and history may be the problem. Of course, it could also be venous insufficiency of the legs which means that the circulation in the veins is hampered – this tends to arise in a person who is sedentary. You should speak to your doctor about your concerns. If possible, light walking may help. Don’t get distracted with other possible causes without focusing on your primary conditions.


    my father is around 50 yrs. & sudddenly he got swelling in both of his legs & not able to walk properly. he wasadmitted in aiims,india on 27-11-10 & doctors are saying some local virus infection but not able to catch that infection.so he is not able to walk properly till now. doctors are saying to do physiotherapy exercises 7 practice walking with dynamic splint. pls help me as it is very urgent.

    • Dr. Chris

      Soma Samantarai

      Without a proper diagnosis, there is no way of knowing for sure or advising you any further. You should see a private doctor who can conclusively diagnose the cause and then advise you on the proper treatment.

  • JN

    I’m an obese 26 yo woman who have had high blood pressure for about 3 years (+ max 1 year before it was diagnosed). Just about half a year ago I got it under control, the medication had to be increased several times for it to take effect. At highest it was about 160/115, now around 135/85. I have a high risk of getting diabetes since it runs in the family, however the latest blood test about 2 months ago was ok (it was a simple blood test, not a glucose tolerance test). I was recently also diagnosed with serious obstructive sleep apnea, I haven’t received the CPAP yet. I rarely exercise and I work by computer all day long and in the evenings also.

    I first noticed I had bilateral non-pitting edema on my upper, inner calves which doesn’t go away and compression stockings seems to make it worse, as well as exercise. It has been there now for at least 7 months. I went to the doctor who made some tests (kidneys, diabetes, ultrasound for Baker’s cyst and various other blood tests) and nothing was found. ECG was also normal.

    Now I have noticed I also have bilateral pitting edema on the lower legs, I actually have no idea how long it has been there because the legs look normal to me (I’m probably used to it) but when I press the skin it is very clear that I have edema. This is probably not related to the non-pitting edema.

    Now I am terrified that I have some serious condition like heart failure. Is it possible although I am relatively young, my ECG was normal and I have no other symptoms (like shortness of breath or anything like that)? Although I had hypertension for a while before it got under control I don’t want to believe it damaged my heart so badly during that time, or can it?

    The pitting edema does not go away during the night, sometimes I even feel it gets worse during the night. I can’t see any changes if I elevate the legs. So venous insuffiency also seem to be out of the question? Can it be related to the sleep apnea?

    There is no pain in the legs, not when I’m moving or when they are touched, but they can seem a bit stiff sometimes.

    I’m very grateful for you time and efforts.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi JN

      Although swelling is not usually seen with peripheral arterial disease, it is possibly that this is the cause. In these cases, compression stockings and elevating the legs makes the condition worse. However this is just one possibility. Given you medical history and weight problem, it could be possible that other conditions may also be present which are not commonly seen in your age group. You need to see your doctor as soon as possible. This could also be related to one or more medications that you are using.

  • Cassetta2010

    On the 19th of November I had back surgery. Since I should I consider this normal systems of the surgery or no?

    • Dr. Chris

      HI Cassetta

      There is no way of us knowing if this is a normal symptoms in your case and you need to discuss it with your doctor. Swelling is not uncommon but should ease especially once you start moving around again. However if the swelling only started up now and is progressing then medical attention is necessary. A common finding in these types of surgery is that the change in gait (the way you walk) may also cause strain and swelling of the limbs. Speak to your doctor.

  • JN

    Thank you for your answer. How bad is it to get peripheral arterial disease this young? I understand there is no cure for this, but is it possible to with life style changes live a normal life without reduction in life expectancy?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi JN

      I think you should read this article on peripheral arterial disease before making assumptions on life expectancy and so on – Peripheral Arterial Disease.

      There are modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors. If you issue is things that are modifiable, meaning that medication and lifestyle changes can reduce or even totally remove it, then there is no long term issue. The unmodifiable risk factors are those that cannot be treated and in these case you will have to be very cautious throughout life. Bottom line, with proper treatment, lifestyle and dietary changes, you can avoid complications of PAD and even reverse it. Youth is always a factor and puts the odds in your favor.

      I do have to highlight one fact here based on the information you provided – your obesity is most likely responsible for most of the ailments you currently have. While there may be genetic risk factors (this is an example of an unmodifiable risk factor) and side effects of medication and so on at play here as well, without proper weight management your chances of long term recovery is going to be difficult. You are also at high risk of developing other serious and even life threatening conditions due to your current health status (obesity + existing chronic conditions). Much of what you need to do for weight loss will also help with PAD, if it does exist.

  • santhiswaroop

    hi sir

    yesterdayy i am playing suddenly i had fallen so my leg next day swelling i went to doctor doctor given arcoxia for reducing pain and swellen

    i kept my 10 cm height and i am sleeping but still my leg swollen not reduced generally how many days it will take to reduce

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Santhiswarup

      It is difficult to say how long this would take as it depends on the nature of the injury and so on. Your doctor would have a better idea as he assessed you. But yes, one day is a bit too soon so you should be patient. It is advisable that you follow up with your doctor by the second or third day. If you notice extreme swelling, a lot more pain, numbness, fever or loss of movement, then you should see your doctor immediately.

  • Rebecca

    I had surgury on a hip replacemen monday the 28 of feb 2011 It all looks good but my hole leg is swelled When I get up to walk on it I can but the there is pain in the hip till I set down then the pain in the hip goes away n the sweliing is still there. My doctor said I could take 800m of iburofen every 8 hours I have did that but just started in the last 24 hrs

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rebecca

      Post-op swelling is not uncommon and with the legs, it tends to aggravate over days since you are stationary. The leg requires movement for circulation. However, any sudden or severe swelling, especially if you find that the leg is turning red, feeling warm to touch and is painful needs to be investigated for the possibility of an infection. See your doctor, let him examine your leg and if all is clear then you can rest assured that this is just temporary. Ensure that you follow up with your doctor regularly.

  • Mar

    Hi..I am a 50 year old woman, healthy and of normal weight. For as long as I can remember I have always had puffy ankles that sometimes get worse, especially when on vacation in hot climates. Can I do anything to help this..I am active and eat a healthy diet mostly. Thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mar

      It is always advisable to have this checked up by your doctor to exclude venous insufficiency (problems with the leg veins) or even heart failure which could also cause this swelling. If your doctor says that there is no underlying problem, then there may not be too much to worry about. Mild swelling may happen with certain hormonal changes, and is more prominent prior to menstruation. Hot weather is a known physiological cause of leg swelling. But nevertheless, speak to your doctor about it.

  • Pieter Ulrich Fischer

    My mom woke up this morning with both her upper legs swollen and blue. Couldn’t walk properly and has been in bed the whole day. If pressed on, the swelling does not go down or leave a finger mark. Its completely solid. From her upper leg down to her ankles. She is 65, has Multiple sclerosis. for 15 years. Left eardrum is affected and balance is affected. Has 4 MS flare-ups a year and came out of hospital 2 weeks ago for MS treatment. Is now halfway through her oral cortisone treatment. Using 6mg of Methotrexate per week. Uses dormonoct (sleeping tablets) when needed.

    • Hi Pieter. Given her age and history she should see a doctor immediately. This is most like a circulatory problem. Could be a clot or cardiac problem but may not necessarily just be isolated to the heart and blood vessels. It could also be linked to liver or kidney problems. It is difficult to say what is causing it through an online platform but it appears to be quite a serious sign. Her doctor will be able to advise her further, especially considering her MS and current medication regimen.

      • Pieter Ulrich Fischer

        HI, just wanted to tell you that they did a Phenogram and found a blood clot stretching from her hip down to her knee on the one side. Started treatment on Tuesday Morning. Treatment has been well responded too. And have prescribed Warfarin to her and will replace Methotrexate with something else due to interactions. Will be in till Friday for injections.

        • Hi Pieter. Thank you for the update. Yes a blood clot or similar circulatory disturbance seemed like a likely problem given her history and the medication she is using. It’s good to hear that the necessary medical treatment was commenced.

          • Pieter Ulrich Fischer

            Would you say that she has a risk of getting it again? She has been prescribed Warfarin and her Methotrexate has been cancelled due to interactions. She also has been catheterized – about six months ago (something i forgot to mention earlier)…

          • Hi Pieter. Yes, she is at risk to some extent. Given her age, drug and medical history, as well as she s very physically active (being sedentary or bed ridden makes clot formation more likely) increases the risk. However, the warfarin will subsequently reduce the risk significantly and prevent any serious complications from arising should another clot form.

  • kristina

    Hi my grandma is 92 with severe dementia and she has just recently lost a lot of strength /use of her left leg. Then she started looking like her feet were puffy and one is bruised or discolored like a bruise. Her doctor said she probably had a mini stroke and she’s just old. I think her doctor sucks but who am I to say? What do you think is wrong? She frequently is bouncing her legs prior to standing like as if to wake them up. She also has been having bad incontinence problems and dementia worsened. She’s very confused. Anyway her left leg seems to all of a sudden not work worse than at other times what do you think?

    • Hi Kristina. Firstly as per our comment policy on the terms and conditions page, we cannot diagnose through this service. In that regard we would not like to second guess her doctor. So we cannot say what is wrong with your grandmother and would have to assume that the doctor’s diagnosis is correct. Symptoms like the leg weakness, dementia and even incontinence can occur with a stroke. However, it may be superimposed over the pre-existing dementia and leg problems that she had. If your grandmother is not happy with the doctor’s service then she should seek a second opinion. Furthermore it would be advisable that she consults with a geriatric physician and neurologist at this point.

  • maggie

    Hi I’m a 47 yr obese female. Had thr on left 7 weeks ago and am waiting to have thr on right hip. I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I should due to pain from right hip but I do get up and walk around the house, I also find I have to stand for 10/30 mins as sitting becomes painfull for my right hip & back, when sitting I’m constantly moving feet & butt clenching, stretching legs, I elevate legs several times daily. After the op my feet/ankles/calves swelled on both legs but mainly the operated side. My team said it was normal but over the last 10 days the swelling doesn’t go down as much overnight and there is a band (just above my toes) of swelling which is an angry red colour and my calf has alternated between hard and soft, I’ve also had an achy pain in groin and a feeling of being stabbed by a load of pins in various parts of my calf. US this still an after effect of the op? I have an appointment with my consultant team in 2 days and a gp appt in 5 but not sure if I need to see gp or I’m just being over cautious? Ps my medication is as follows: mst continus 60 x 2 & 30 x 2 spread out over 6 hourly doses, naproxen 500, high bp tablets, water tablets 20, ranitidine, cetirizine, tablets for a weak bladder, lactulose and finally oramorph which I can take if in huge amount of pain but I rarely take this.

  • Rodney Green

    Hi Doctor I recently had an accident on a bicycle and I had to have a left hip replacement. When I walk I am fine but when I rest or sleep firstly on the side where the hip was replaced under the toes and soles I get terrible numbness and when I walk it’s fine it, has now started under the dole and toes on the other foot as well. I have been tested for diabetes there is no sign what could possibly be causing this kind regards Rodney

    • Hi Rodney. From what you say this seems to be a case of the nerves running down the leg being compressed when you are lying down. The question though is whether this compression is at the level of the spine or elsewhere along its course. The fact that both sides are now affected most likely points towards a nerve root compression in the lower back, since diabetes has been excluded as a possible cause. Hopefully you have had an x-ray in this area. It may be a good idea to see a neurologist at this point.

  • Teresa Jones

    my father is 72 yrs old has been dx with Dermatomyositis and is on warfarin and keeps getting swallon leg with balck and blue then they take him off of it for 5 days and put back on after 5 days is this normal procedure?

    • Hi Teresa. It is difficult to comment much further without knowing your father’s full medical history and for this reason it may be advisable to seek a second opinion with another doctor in person. Sometimes such measures have to be put into place for individual situations so it cannot be labeled as “normal” or not across the board for all patients. It would be advisable that you speak to your family doctor.

  • Sharon

    I was recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease….I just noticed my right foot on the top and toes are swollen. I felt soreness in my foot for at least a couple of weeks now and I just mentioned it to my husband and when we looked at my foot we seen that it was obviously swollen….can this be related to my recent diagnosis?

    • Hi Sharon. It could be related if your coronary artery disease is so severe that it is affecting normal functioning of your heart. If it really was this severe then your doctor would have advised that you have surgery immediately because a heart attack could occur at any time. However, there is the possibility that it is unrelated to your coronary artery disease and it may therefore be another condition altogether. Early diagnosis and treatment is always advisable.

  • Helen

    Hello, Doctor.

    I was wondering what type of doctor to go to for this problem: “while sitting down–NOT walking” my toes get gray/black, especially the bottom of both feet (can also happen when standing in one position for a time).
    When walking or sleeping in my bed, I am perfectly fine.

    I have been to approximately 7 doctors who have differing opinions (around 2012 and 2013). One says I have Raynaud’s, and another says “possibly” Raynaud’s, but others say that I do NOT have Raynauds.
    One said I have Mitchells’ Disease aka Erythromelagia and another doctor in the same office said–No, I do not have that, but it looked like it might be vascular.
    Another said No, not vascular, but possibly in the Raynaud’s “FAMILY.”
    Another doctor said, possibly an AUTOIMMUNE disease–but not sure.

    I have been to a family doctor, a podiatrist in another state, an Internal Medicine doctor in another city in my state who referred me to a Lower Extremity Doctor and on two separate occasions, two doctors who specialized in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, and a Lipid Doctor that wrote on his report (after tests) “POSSIBLE” Peripheral vascular disease with BLUE-TOE-SYNDROME.

    I have been given several tests, for example an ultrasound for blood flow on the legs –which turned out OK. I do not remember the other tests.

    I gave up going to other doctors a couple of years ago, but I keep worrying that this might eventually lead to amputation.

    Where do I go to for this problem (a hospital or a specialist, etc.)? I feel like I have some sort of mystery disease.

    Thank you so much.

    • HI Helen. The best way to approach this is to ask your family doctor to refer you to the appropriate specialist. Your family doctor is familiar with your case and would be able to provide you with a referral letter as well to assist the specialist in understanding your medical history to date. If you are going to do this on your own without a referral then you may want to consider seeing a vascular specialist. If such a specialist is not available in your region then you should start with a specialist physician and take it from there.

      • Helen

        Thank you for your reply.
        In the past, I asked my family doctor for a referral, and further, he assisted with giving my history to all of the other doctors that I told him that I was going to see. At this point, my family doctor does not know what else to suggest.

        The Lower Extremity Doctor that I visited 3 years ago said that my pulse was good and an ultrasound test showed that it was NOT circulatory and he eliminated vascular problems. He did say “possible autoimmune disorder”. He added, “MIGHT BE IN THE RAYNAUDS FAMILY”. He “may have been” a vascular doctor (I wrote down Lower Extremity doctor in my notes).

        Thank you again for your reply; it is most appreciated.
        I will do as you suggested and see a vascular specialist.

  • BuckingBronco

    I have a 15 year old granddaughter that is athletic. She is average weight and height. Over the last 6 months or so I have noticed that her legs and ankles are very thick. Thicker than normal for her body weight, and more than they have been every before. To me they are swollen. I ask her mother about it and she says it is because of her increase activity with athletics, but this is not muscle I am seeing. There isn’t sculpting. They do not appear normal and I am concerned. We have a family history of heart disease and diabetis but my daughter thinks I mettle and I am a worry wart. My Grandson is 2 years younger and is just as active. He does NOT have the same issue. Am I right to be concerned?

  • lisa morgan

    Hello DR : my husband is having both his feet itch an they have a purplish color on both of them??sometimes is better than other but for the most part he itches them everynight..we thought maybe he was allergic tohis work boots so we got him some new ones..but they never cleared up..so do you know what this may be??thanks.

  • susan

    hi DOCTOR, I was told I had achillis rupture but after mri 5 months later showed no tear but I had a loud pop then my calf got tight into a ball 10 day follow my foot was turning red could not handle sheets over the foot then my foot started turning purplish was told I had rsd went to a pain management doctor he said it was a unbalanced nerve problem I don’t understand what a unbalanced nerve proble is..could this be venous insufficiency even though my circulation test was good and Doppler ultra sound was good

  • Trina

    I care for a woman 80 yrs. old. She is on several medications and currently waiting to see if she can get a knee replacement. She sits in her recliner with the legs up most of the day. She has been complaining of different aches & pains for the past 2 weeks. Today her feet and shins are more swollen than usual and starting to darken. Should I have her up walking more? Should I use ice or heat? Or is this more of a concern I should get her to the hospital? She has an upcoming Dr. appt. next week.

  • ChunPapi

    Hello, I’m 17 years old and I’ve had a swelling issue with my foot for the past 3 days. I don’t know if I injured it or not, I read somewhere that the cause could be being overweight. I walk around too much for the foot which has caused it to swell more but I don’t really leave my house since it’s summer so the foot is usually resting. I woke up today and it started becoming purple near my pink toe. All the pain seems to go to the side of my foot where it is very red and I can’t move my last two toes there either.

    I walk on my foot to get out of bed and do daily things but I also use it to go to summer school which isn’t a lot of walking since I get out of my car, walk to class, stay there for 3 hours no walking, then I walk back to my car and drive home and walk inside to sit back down at my desk. I don’t really know what to do with it anymore since this has never happened and the fact that it’s starting to turn purple is making me uneasy. I don’t even know how to elevate my foot while sleeping. Also it seems like it isn’t super painful anymore to walk on it but it doesn’t get any better. I just need some advice , please and thank you!

    • Hi ChunPapi. Being overweight can strain the joints and bones but this does not happen overnight. The fact that it is turning blue to purple is a cause for concern. This may be an indication that the blood flow through the foots is in some way impaired. However, it is difficult to pinpoint a cause just based on the symptoms you report here. You definitely should be consulting with a doctor to identify the exact cause.

  • Bali Gita

    hello sir, i am 36 years and overweight by -15-20 kg. from 4-5 days i started walk from ofc to home. yesterday in between walking my lower left leg started paining like it is swollen internally & as the same time pain in my left foot too. kindly tell the reason & cure too. pls.

    Thanks in advance!