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Swelling from thigh to calf

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I am a 51 year old woman in excellent health. I have a long commute to/from work of up to an 1-1/2 hours each way and sit at a computer most of the day. For the last week, my right leg is swollen about half way down my thigh to halfway down my calf. It's gotten worse which is why i'm writing to you. My friend took photos of both of my legs which I will attach. It's uncomfortable but not terribly painful. There is an area on the back of my leg behind the joint that is very swollen. I've been elevating it as much as I can and then taking Advil at night. Mornings it feels better initially but goes back to swelling as soon as I'm up and around. Stretching seems to make it feel better temporarily but it stiffens up again shortly thereafter.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Thank you for choosing Doctor Spring. Your symptoms suggest of a baker's cyst or an acute episode of osteoarthritis. Your photos show a clear swelling localized right at the back of the knee with slight swelling in the front of the knee.

Bursitis, tendinitis, ligament tears usually cause pain in the knee, but are not limited to just the back of the knee. So most likely this is Baker cyst.

Baker's cyst is usually due to leakage of joint fluid from the knee. The inflammation after accumulation of fluid can happen due to osteoarthritis (wear and tear) of the bone which is common in menopause or with aging/over use.

But do not worry. Most cases will resolve by itself. But you should see this as a warning sign. This is good time to get your knee joints and bone health tested. In rare cases this cyst can rupture and cause acute swelling in the lower leg, so it is important for you to get in touch with your orthopaedician /GP for examination and investigations like ultrasound and/or Xray.

Baker's cyst is treated with removal of fluid from the cyst, which is done by using cortisone injections. If your doctor determines arthritis in the back ground you need to take steps to manage this condition(rest, ice pack, compression and elevation of the joint; OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, physical therapy) there by preventing the recurrence of baker's cyst.

For now take rest as much as possible with knee in a non weight bearing position. You may take a NSAID medication like Ibuprofen 400 mg twice daily in consult with your Doctor.

Hope this helps.
Do write to us for follow ups.
Thank you.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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