Upper Leg Swelling Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand upper leg swelling symptoms, including 5 causes & common questions.

Upper Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper leg swelling


  1. 5 Possible Upper Leg Swelling Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

5 Possible Upper Leg Swelling Causes

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

Cushing syndrome

Cushing Syndrome is a hormonal disorder. The cause is long-term exposure to too much cortisol, a hormone that the adrenal gland makes. Sometimes, taking synthetic hormone medicine like corticosteroids to treat an inflammatory disease leads to Cushing's syndrome.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, depressed mood, weight gain, back pain

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

Upper Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper leg swelling

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


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

Osteogenic sarcoma

Osteogenic sarcoma is a cancer of the bone that usually develops when bones are rapidly growing during adolescence. It is the most common primary tumor of the bone. Although any bone in the body can be affected, the thigh (femur), upper arm (humerus), shin (tibia), and pelvis are mo...

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Upper Leg Swelling

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

  • Do you have a rash?
  • Where on your upper leg is this swelling?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?

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

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper leg swelling. These questions are also covered.

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Upper Leg Swelling Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced upper leg swelling have also experienced:

  • 9% Swollen Lower Leg
  • 6% Upper Leg Pain
  • 4% Swollen Ankle

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

  • 40% Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • 40% Compartment Syndrome
  • 20% Cushing Syndrome

People who have experienced upper leg swelling had symptoms persist for:

  • 30% Less than a week
  • 28% Over a month
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Upper Leg Swelling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper leg swelling