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Swelling in my legs. What could this be?

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I am 44, obese and have osteoarthritis in both knees. I have been experiencing some issues with swelling in my legs. It is not noticeable unless I really look, but it feels like my skin is being stretched tight. There is no pain other than in my knees, from the arthritis. It happens later in the day and seems to only happen when I have been doing a lot of sitting or having to stand in one spot for a while.  When I press it, it does not leave a dent. I am thinking that it's simply a circulation thing and that I need to move more (which can be very hard with arthritis). I should add that my legs/feet don't change color, and don't get hot or cold when this happens. I'm a bit worried, as I know that edema can indicate heart issues.Thank you for your help!


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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

Hello, I can understand your pain and will try to answer the best possible. . There is a high possibility that after your fall u may have developed lymphedema primary or secondary, of which secondary lymphedema is quite common with trauma. Lymphedema is the accumulation of fluid (lymph) in the subcutaneous tissues due to defective lymphatic drainage. These patients usually develop swelling in the foot (n tree trunk deformity), dull aching to severe pain, fever, malaise.

I would recommend you to follow these methods to relieve your pain:

a)Elevation of the limb, exercise, weight reduction.

b)Avoid lifting heavy weights, prolonged standing

c)Use of compression stockings and massaging the limb.

d)Diethyl carbamazine citrate (DEC) 100mg three times a day for 3 weeks.

You can also consult your surgeon for the use of appropriate antibiotics and painkillers.

Hope this helps. If you have any further queries please feel free to ask.

Thank you.


Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Experience: 
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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