Legs Swelling

Legs | General Practice | Legs Swelling (Symptom)


The swelling of the legs is a sign of fluid build-up or swelling of the tissue or joint of the leg. Inflammation can occur anywhere along the leg, including the thighs, knees, calves, ankles and feet.


Mild swelling is a common occurrence after standing for a long time, especially in hot climates. Swelling of the legs, also known as edema, can result from severe infections, trauma, circulatory disorders, heart disorders (heart) and other abnormal processes.

Depending on the cause swelling in the legs may be short-lived and disappears quickly, as when it occurs after standing or sitting for a long time during a long flight. Chronic inflammation or swelling in the legs that accumulates over time, often indicates a potentially serious condition such as congestive heart failure or cardiovascular disease. Swelling of the legs can also be caused by orthopedic conditions, such as a broken bone.

Leg swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, leg swelling due to congestive heart failure may occur with shortness of breath. Leg swelling due to an infection may be accompanied by fever, redness and warmth around the affected area.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Because leg swelling can be a symptom of a life-threatening condition, one should seek prompt medical care and talk with his or her medical professional about the symptoms.