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Is it normal to have a difference in the size of both arms and legs ?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 43 Questions
hi , i notice that my left leg from thighs till toe is bigger than the right and same with my left arm , my leg i do have numbness even whm am swimming or sitting i feel it heavy while walkin . the arm i dont have pain i do have calcification in the shoulder . its been 5years now but now the size is getting bigger leg and arm ( i noticed it from my pants and shirts )
what shall i do
thnk you
Posted Thu, 26 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sangeet 11 hours later
Hello Rula,

Thanks for the query.

Pardon me as none of the diagnosis, I have on my mind fits your age. Hence I need further clarification of your problem details about the swelling.

Does the swelling persist all day long?
Does the pit stay on your limb if you try pressing it for a minute?
Do you have any chest symptoms?
Are you sure the swelling has been increasing in size or was it present from birth, but went unnoticed?
Please mention if there's any other problem apart from this.

No need to worry, but kindly answer these questions so I could help you better.

Awaiting for your reply. I will be available for your follow up.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it normal to have a difference in the size of both arms and legs ? 9 hours later
Hi,the left side size of leg and arm has developd in the past 5years it dsnt go its always thr .i do wonder why its bigger even the shoe size its dfrnt than the right leg not one size biggr but i squeez it ti put my shoe . As for the arm the shirts shows the dffer. As i said thr is numbness on the leg upper part almost every day and weathr am sitting or sleeping and swimming .the arm i di have pain but i can take it am used to it now . As i said the left side frm my body is dftnt .

Thank you
Answered by Dr. Sangeet 33 hours later
Hello again Rula,

Your problem doesn't seem to be related to SLE or any Orthopedic disorder. Pardon me, but I couldn't come to a conclusion even after discussion with three other consultants. I hence referred your query to Dr XXXXXXX XXXXXXX Physician specialized in XXXXXXX Medicine.
Please find below the answer posted by him:


You mention that you have enlargement of the left side of your body, especially the left leg and left upper limb since last 5 years.
You also mention that, its gradually increasing in size.

Usually we come across conditions where there is increase in size of either of lower limbs. This occurs due to either venous blockage or due to lymphatic obstruction.
We also have conditions where there is swelling of both the lower limbs. Such diseases are systemic in origin and lead to swelling all over the body.

Just enlargement of one half of the body especially the limbs is not very common.

You have SLE diagnosed about 7 years ago.

There are few possibilities which i can consider in your situation.
1. There could be enlargement due to poor venous return. This can occur if here is venous blockage. Patients with SLE are prone for Thrombosis of veins. Such thrombosis if occurs in the upstream veins of the left side of the body, it can lead to such symptoms.
2. There is a rare condition know as Hemihypertrophy. In this condition, there is gradual enlargement of one half of the body. The cause is usually genetic starts at childhood. However, milder forms can go unnoticed and become apparent later in life.
3. Lymphatic blockage can also lead to such situations.

The numbness mean along with enlargement, there is neurologic involvement. This can occur in form of nerve entrapment or stretchng.
SLE patient can also develop neuropathy due to vasculitis.

You will need a close and detailed clinical examination.
Most of the causes can be identified by a careful clinical examination and few laboratory tests..
A Nerve Conduction Study of the lower limb will be useful.
Get Doppler examination of the lower and upper limbs

It will helpful if you can send some pictures for our review. I would be able to give a more specific reply..
You can mail me at YYYY@YYYY with Subject Attn: Dr XXXXXXX XXXXXXX


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