Symptoms A-Z

Severe Lower Leg Swelling Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your severe lower leg swelling symptoms, including 6 causes and common questions.

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Severe Lower Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

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Contents

  1. 6 Possible Severe Lower Leg Swelling Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

6 Possible Severe Lower Leg Swelling Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced severe lower leg swelling. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) characterized by a rapid rate and irregular rhythm that feels like the heart is quivering. It can lead to chest discomfort, shortness of breath,.

Heart damage from high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, viral infections, and sleep apnea can cause atrial fibrillation. Other risk factors include increasing age, obesity, family history, and drinking alcohol.

Symptoms include a jerky, fluttering heartbeat (palpitations);(https://www.buoyhealth.com/symptoms-a-z/chest-pain-worse-breathing-or-coughing/) is a medical emergency requiring a call to 911.

Treatment involves cardioversion with mild electrical shock or medication to return the heart to normal rhythm. Blood thinners and medication to maintain heart rhythm will be prescribed. Procedures may be needed in some cases.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat, lightheadedness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most common on the feet, lower legs, and face.

The condition can develop if Staphylococcus bacteria enter broken skin through a cut, scrape, or existing skin infection such as impetigo or eczema.

Most susceptible are those with a weakened immune system, as from corticosteroids or chemotherapy, or with impaired circulation from diabetes or any vascular disease.

Symptoms arise somewhat gradually and include sore, reddened skin.

If not treated, the infection can become severe, form pus, and destroy the tissue around it. In rare cases, the infection can cause blood poisoning or meningitis.

Symptom of severe pain, fever, cold sweats, and fast heartbeat should be seen immediately by a medical provider.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment consists of antibiotics, keeping the wound clean, and sometimes surgery to remove any dead tissue. Cellulitis often recurs, so it is important to treat any underlying conditions and improve the immune system with rest and good nutrition.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain

Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis: facial redness, area of skin redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys that results in too much protein excreted into your urine. It is usually associated with damaged kidneys specifically damage to the kidneys' filters, called glomeruli.

Kidney damage and nephrotic syndrome primarily include albuminuria, or large amounts of protein in the urine; hyperlipidemia, which is higher than normal fat and cholesterol content in the blood; edema, which is widespread swelling; and hypoalbuminemia, which is a low level of albumin in the blood.

Edema often presents as weight gain, albuminuria is identified by(https://www.buoyhealth.com/symptoms-a-z/fatigue/) may also be experienced.

Treatments include medications to relieve symptoms and assess underlying conditions as well as possible lifestyle adjustments.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, weight gain, bilateral leg swelling

Symptoms that never occur with nephrotic syndrome: cut on the foot, recent cut or wound, swollen ankle, swelling of one leg

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Severe Lower Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

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Congestive heart failure

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. Heart failure can affect the right side, left side, or both sides of the heart. It can be subcategorized as "heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF)" or "heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF)." The ejection fraction is the portion of blood in the heart that gets ejected through the blood vessels to the rest of the body with each pump. HFpEF is a condition in which the fraction of blood in the heart that is pumped with each beat is normal but the ventricle, one of the chambers of the heart, has been stiffened so does not fill with blood as effectively. HFrEF is a condition in which the fraction of blood ejected from the heart with each beat is reduced.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough at night, shortness of breath on exertion

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Lymphangitis

Lymphangitis is a condition resulting in inflamed lymphatic vessels due to an infection. The lymphatic system runs throughout the body and consists of both nodes and these vessels. The nodes produce lymph — the clear fluid that bathes and nourishes the organs and other tissues — while the vessels circulate the lymph throughout the body.

Symptoms include swelling, often under the arm or at the bend of the elbow, red streaks in the skin that may stem from the armpit or groin and may be bright red or painful, as well as a fever with chills, a headache, or a general ill feeling all over.

If recognized quickly, lymphangitis can often be successfully treated with antibiotics and over-the-counter medication to soothe pain. In more severe cases, lymphangitis can lead to widespread infection and shock known as sepsis. Surgery or other intervention may be required.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, fever, chills, painful lump in one side of the groin, groin redness

Symptoms that always occur with lymphangitis: painful lump in one side of the groin

Urgency: In-person visit

Right heart failure (cor pulmonale)

Acute cor pulmonale is also called acute right-sided heart failure and acute RHF. It is the sudden failure of the right ventricle of the heart.

The right ventricle pumps blood out of the heart, into the pulmonary artery, and into the lungs. If the pulmonary artery is blocked, the right ventricle will quickly become overworked and in danger of shutting down. A blood clot, called an embolism, or plaque lining this artery can suddenly cut off blood flow from the heart into the lungs.

Risk factors for acute cor pulmonale include surgery, obesity, smoking, and prolonged immobility. All of these leave the person prone to blood clots and/or plaque in the arteries.

Symptoms include sudden chest pain with rapid heartbeat, pale skin, cold sweat, shortness of breath, and coughing, sometimes with blood.

Acute cor pulmonale is a life-threatening medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, blood tests, echocardiogram, and chest x-ray.

Treatment involves oxygen, diuretics, blood-thinning and clot-dissolving medications, and sometimes surgery.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath on exertion, wheezing, decreased exercise tolerance

Symptoms that never occur with right heart failure (cor pulmonale): severe chest pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Lower Leg Swelling

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • What is your body mass?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having severe lower leg swelling

Severe Lower Leg Swelling Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced severe lower leg swelling have also experienced:

  • 4% Fatigue
  • 3% Lower Leg Pain
  • 3% Lower Back Pain

People who have experienced severe lower leg swelling were most often matched with:

  • 46% Atrial Fibrillation
  • 26% Cellulitis
  • 26% Nephrotic Syndrome

People who have experienced severe lower leg swelling had symptoms persist for:

  • 29% Over a month
  • 28% Less than a week
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Severe Lower Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having severe lower leg swelling