Lower extremity edema

Lower extremity edema

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Edema is not a disease or a health disorder in itself, but is a sign of some underlying health problem. Edema is caused by fluid in your body's tissue. Usually fluid retention is noticed in the peripheral areas, but it can happen anywhere in your body. Lower extremity edema involves swelling of the feet and legs.

Some potential causes of lower extremity edema include gout, broken bones, and certain types of arthritis. A sprained ankle or infection in the leg may also cause leg swelling.

Risk Factors May Include:

    Deep venous thrombosis.

  • Chronic venous disease.

  • Varicose veins.

  • Surgery to your leg or foot.

  • Blood clot.

  • Leg infection.

  • Anemia.

  • Malnutrition.

  • Low protein level in blood.

  • Hormonal changes.

  • Overweight.

  • Sunburn.

  • Cirrhosis.

  • Nephrosis.

  • Pregnancy.

  • Heart failure.

  • Septal defects.

  • Kidney disease.

  • Some medications.

  • Eating too much salt.


    Ankle bone and the top of the feet are swollen.

  • You will notice a pain.

  • Difficulty in walking.

  • Your legs begin to turn reddish blue.

  • If edema is very severe, pink or yellow fluid will begin to seep from every available open pore on your lower legs.


Your doctor will take a medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination, with special attention to your heart, lungs, abdomen, legs, and feet.

Questions May Include:

    What specific body parts swell? Your ankles, feet, legs? Above the knee or below?

  • Do you have swelling at all times or is it worse in the morning or the evening?

  • What makes your swelling worse?

  • Does the swelling get better when you elevate your legs?

  • What other symptoms do you have?

Diagnostic tests may include:

    Blood tests such as a CBC or blood chemistry.

  • ECG.

  • Chest x-ray or extremity x-ray.

  • Urinalysis.


Treatment is geared toward the underlying cause of the swelling and may include medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

Treatment Options:

    Your physician will be the one to best decide your course of treatment which may include diuretics, potassium and perhaps heart medication to help your heart pump the blood around your body as efficiently as possible.

  • When the fluid starts building up remember to keep your legs elevated as much as possible to help bring the fluid back to the upper torso.

  • Wound care or skin care for both lower extremities if there are open, weeping sores.

  • Mustard oil is an effective home remedy for edema. Take some warm mustard oil and rub it on the affected areas. Soak two teaspoons of mustard seeds in water and apply the solution to the affected areas.

  • Exercise regularly by trying to keep your body engaged in physical activities. This will help you to get rid of excessive fluid in body cells and cavities.

  • Wear support stockings.

Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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