Symptoms A-Z

Swollen Lower Leg Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand swollen lower leg symptoms, including 10 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 10 Possible Swollen Lower Leg Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

10 Possible Swollen Lower Leg Causes

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

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

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein clots occur in the lower leg or thigh.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fever, thigh pain, upper leg swelling, calf pain, butt pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

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

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

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

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Ankle sprain

Ankle ligaments, which connect bones to one another, stabilize the ankle joint. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments caused by a twisting motion of the joint.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pain in one ankle, ankle pain from an injury, swollen ankle, bruised ankle, ankle twisting

Symptoms that always occur with ankle sprain: pain in one ankle, ankle pain from an injury

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Shin bruise

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the shin are common given the location of the shin.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: shin pain from an injury, shin injury, pain in one shin, shin swelling, shin bruise

Symptoms that always occur with shin bruise: shin injury, shin pain from an injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Compartment syndrome

Acute compartment syndrome describes the damage done to certain muscle groups of the arms or legs after a traumatic injury.

All of the long muscles are bundled into sections – "compartments" – by the white sheets of strong, tough connective tissue called fascia. If something interferes with circulation so that blood flow is trapped within the compartment, pressure rises because the fascia cannot stretch. This causes serious damage to the muscles and other tissues within the compartment.

Acute compartment syndrome is caused by a broken bone; a crush injury; burns, due to scarred and tightened skin; and bandages or casts applied before an injury has stopped swelling.

Symptoms can rapidly intensify. They include severe pain and tightness in the muscle; tingling or burning sensation; and sometimes numbness and weakness.

Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency which can result in loss of the limb. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination.

Treatment involves hospitalization for emergency surgery and, in some cases, skin graft.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: arm numbness, hand numbness, foot numbness, pain in one leg, thigh numbness

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Repetitive strain injury of the calf

Repetitive strain injury of the calf is caused by consistent repetitive use.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: lower leg numbness, calf pain from overuse

Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the calf: calf pain from overuse

Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the calf: recent calf injury, severe calf pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Calf strain

A strain, commonly called a "pulled muscle," is when a muscle becomes overstretched, and microscopic tears occur. A calf strain happens when one of the muscles on the back of the lower leg is pulled.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pain in one calf, moderate calf pain, calf pain, sports injury, soccer injury

Symptoms that always occur with calf strain: pain in one calf

Urgency: Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Lower Leg

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

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • What is your body mass?
  • 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 swollen lower leg

Swollen Lower Leg Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced swollen lower leg have also experienced:

  • 9% Lower Leg Pain
  • 3% Lower Leg Redness
  • 3% Fatigue

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

  • 40% Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • 33% Lymphangitis
  • 26% Cellulitis

People who have experienced swollen lower leg 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”).

Swollen Lower Leg Symptom Checker

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