Swollen legs


Swollen legs can one or both sides occur. There can be various causes behind this and the therapy varies depending on the causes.

Causes of Leg Swollen


There are several possible causes of leg swelling.
Heart failure (heart failure) is often responsible for leg swelling. The leg swelling in heart failure is caused by the storage of water (= edema) in the legs. One then speaks of cardiac edema. The water retention occurs because the heart no longer has enough strength to adequately transport the resulting blood volume, resulting in a backwater. Heart failure can also lead to a build-up of fluid in the lungs, which can be indicated by shortness of breath and a sizzling noise when breathing.

Another cause of leg swelling is thrombosis. If there is a thrombosis, only one of the two legs is usually affected. The leg is often painful and shiny more than the other. Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot obstructs a venous vessel in the leg, which leads to blood congestion.

Lymphedema is also a relatively common cause of leg swelling. The swelling usually occurs on both sides, but it can also be localized on one side. In the case of lymphedema, there is no longer sufficient transport of the lymph fluid from the legs to the lymph stations higher up. The swelling often begins in the area of ​​the foot, more precisely the toes, this can be recognized by the fact that the skin can no longer be "lifted" from the toes.

Read more on the subject at: Swollen feet

Even with weak veins in the legs, leg swelling can occur on one or both sides. Often there are also bluish-lilac colored skin discolorations to be seen here.

Medication can also cause leg swelling. In particular, drugs from the group of calcium channel blockers come into question here, which can cause lower leg edema. The swelling of the legs is usually reversible after stopping the medication, i.e. it disappears again.

A possible cause of unilateral leg swelling is an erysipelas. A bacterial infection causes an infection of the leg. This shows up as swelling and severe reddening of the leg. The leg is usually noticeably overheated and the reddening is usually sharply defined.

Lipedema can also lead to swelling of the legs.

Swelling and warmth of the leg

A leg swelling caused by a overheat of the leg can also have various causes. At a Sore rose is the leg mostly significantly warmer than the opposite side. This is due to the inflammation underlying the swelling.

Even with one thrombosis can it become a Overheating of the affected leg section come.

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Swelling after a flight

Kick a unilateral leg swelling after a long flight, this may indicate the presence of a thrombosis be. If there is such a thrombosis, those affected usually complain of additional pain in the affected leg and a feeling of tension. A long journey that is mainly spent sitting is generally considered a risk factor for the development of a thrombosis.

Swelling after surgery

Just like air travel is one surgery or the Condition after an operation a Risk factor for the development of a thrombosis.
This is in the Immobilization (lack of physical activity) justified after the operation. If immobilization lasts for several days, the risk of thrombosis is generally increased. That is why it is usually used once a day after operations Blood thinning agents injected under the skin. This is to avoid thrombosis.
Even in patients who are initially not allowed to put full weight on one of their legs after an operation (for example because it has been operated on), blood thinning is usually applied until they can fully load the leg again.

Also read our topic: Swelling after surgery


To diagnose why leg swelling is present, you should first talk to a doctor. For example, he asks questions about the onset and duration of the swelling, whether it decreases when the legs are raised, whether new medication is being taken and whether there are previous illnesses.
Then the physical exam takes place. The legs are examined here. The doctor looks for tender spots and overheating or redness.

Further examinations are then possible: A blood test to look for the presence of inflammation values ​​as they often occur in erysipelas or the presence of a positive D-dimer value as it usually occurs in a thrombosis. An ultrasound examination of the affected leg can also be performed to rule out thrombosis.

In order to find out whether a weak heart is responsible for the leg swelling, a laboratory test can be carried out to determine the BNP value, and a heart ultrasound can also be carried out, with which the pumping capacity of the heart can be assessed.


A leg swelling can - depending on the cause - be accompanied by various symptoms.

With a thrombosis, the leg is often painful (pressure), the skin is shiny and sometimes overheated.
In the case of an erysipelas (wound rose), the affected part of the leg is swollen and clearly reddened with a flame; the reddening is usually sharply defined against the unaffected area. In addition, erysipelas often lead to fever and chills, and the inflammation values ​​in the laboratory are increased.
If there is a leg swelling as part of a weak heart, those affected often complained of shortness of breath during exercise and reduced resilience, a laboratory value (BNP) is increased and the heart ultrasound shows a restricted pump function.

There is usually no pain with lymphedema; occasionally, those affected describe a feeling of tension and heavy legs.

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Treatment / therapy

The type of treatment depends largely on the underlying cause.

If there is a thrombosis, blood-thinning therapy must be initiated, and compression therapy of the legs (for example with thrombosis stockings) should be carried out.

A wound rose must be treated with antibiotics, regular wound and laboratory checks should be carried out.

In the case of cardiac edema, the underlying disease, namely heart failure, must be treated first. Various medications come into question here, including water tablets that are supposed to flush out the excess fluid. Lymphedema can only be treated meaningfully in the initial stages; here, for example, regular lymphatic drainage is an option.

Read about the possible treatments for lymphedema of the legs at: This is how lymphedema of the legs is treated

Treatment with Schüssler salts

To treat swollen legs or feet, Schüssler salts ointments are offered.
The varieties sodium chloratum, sodium sulfuricum, potassium arsenicosum and potassium iodatum come into question here. They should be applied thinly to the affected area and rubbed in. But sodium sulfuricum, a normal Schüssler salt, is also said to provide relief for swollen feet.

It should be noted, however, that the causative disease cannot be treated with Schüssler salts. A doctor should be consulted if there is a suspicion of thrombosis, inflammation or heart disease.

Here you can find more information about Schüssler salts


Also the Duration of leg swelling mainly depends from the cause and of whether one therapy is initiated.
If left untreated, the leg swollen under a Heart failure occur persist or even increase. If an adequate drug therapy is initiated, the fat legs can already after a few days be significantly slimmer again.
With an untreated thrombosis there is a risk of this one Pulmonary embolism developed, this can be fatal in the worst case. If a thrombosis is treated with blood thinning and compression, it usually takes weeks to months for the swelling to subside sufficiently. Often the affected leg remains a little thicker than the other.

You can find out more about the topic here: Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Becomes a Erysipelas Not treated with antibiotics can result in a Sepsis (blood poisoning) to lead. After starting the drug treatment with antibiotics, it usually takes a few days for the reddening to subside, and the swelling often persists for several weeks.

You can find out more about the topic here: Symptoms of sepsis (blood poisoning)

Swelling of the legs and hands

Consists at the same time a swelling of both Legs and both hands, heart disease is often the cause. It can be, for example, a Heart failure act. The heart is no longer able to transport the required volume of blood and a Storage of water in different parts of the body. The legs are often affected first, but the hands, fingers, and the entire trunk can also be affected.

Therapeutically come here different Medication for use. On the one hand Water tabletsthat flush out the excess water and those that are supposed to strengthen the heart.

Swelling of the legs and arms

Swelling of the legs and arms, as well as swelling of the legs and hands, is common cardiac cause. One is not uncommon Heart failure (heart failure) causal. You can use a Cardiac ultrasound will be noted and will in most cases medicinal treated.

Swollen legs during pregnancy

Swollen legs and hands are in the Pregnancy is a big issue for many women. The deposits arise, among other things, that the body during pregnancy produces more blood volume that he then has to transport. The water retention occur mainly in the more advanced stages pregnancy.

There are several ways to reduce water retention, but there is no causal therapy. Can be tried adequate exercise, one low-salt diet and the regular one Elevate of the affected body part. Also Compression stockings (Support stockings) can help to keep the deposits in check.

Legs swollen after childbirth

Also after the birth of the child swelling of the arms and legs can occur - as in pregnancy.
To be able to keep this swelling at bay Support stockings be worn, besides is lots of movement and regular elevation the legs are important. The swelling usually goes down after some time back by itself.

Swollen legs after exercising

A swelling of one or both legs after exercising in not a normal phenomenon. Usually, such swelling should not occur after exercise. However, swelling can occur after exercise if there is one Injury or overload has come. The swollen area should then cooled, stored up and protected become.
The swelling is over one longer period or is that swollen area painful so should a Consulted a doctor become.