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What causes painful leg swelling in an elderly person?

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Posted on Sat, 10 May 2014
Question: Yes, a family member aged 70 has swelling in right leg only and it is quite painful.
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Answered by Dr. Rovena Murati (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: It can be a vein thrombosis of the leg. Detailed Answer: Hello! I am Dr.Rovena. I had gone through your query and understand your concern. Leg swelling, redness, and pain may be indicators of a blood clot and should not be ignored. These symptoms may be due to other causes (for example, cellulitis or infection), but it may be difficult to make the diagnosis without seeking medical advice. As you described it I can think only of two possible diagnosis: -One is Superficial Vein Thrombosis which is a condition in which blood clots are formed in the superficial vein system.Most often occur due to trauma to the vein which causes a small blood clot to form. Inflammation of the vein and surrounding skin causes the symptoms of any other type of inflammation including : redness,warmth,tenderness,and swelling. Often the affected vein can be palpated (felt) as a firm, thickened cord. -Second possibility is Deep Vein Thrombosis which is the condition when blood clots are formed in deep vein system. The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are related to obstruction of blood returning to the heart and causing a backup of blood in the leg. Classically, symptoms include:pain,swelling,warmth, and redness. Not all of these symptoms have to occur; one, all, or none may be present with a deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms may mimic an infection or cellulitis of the leg. Since this both conditions need medical attention I suggest to take her to hospital as soon as possible to get the right diagnoses and treatment. Hope I was able to help you.If you have further questions please feel free to write me,I will be happy to answer. Take care Dr.Rovena
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Dr. Rovena Murati

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2013

Answered : 1243 Questions

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What causes painful leg swelling in an elderly person?

Brief Answer: It can be a vein thrombosis of the leg. Detailed Answer: Hello! I am Dr.Rovena. I had gone through your query and understand your concern. Leg swelling, redness, and pain may be indicators of a blood clot and should not be ignored. These symptoms may be due to other causes (for example, cellulitis or infection), but it may be difficult to make the diagnosis without seeking medical advice. As you described it I can think only of two possible diagnosis: -One is Superficial Vein Thrombosis which is a condition in which blood clots are formed in the superficial vein system.Most often occur due to trauma to the vein which causes a small blood clot to form. Inflammation of the vein and surrounding skin causes the symptoms of any other type of inflammation including : redness,warmth,tenderness,and swelling. Often the affected vein can be palpated (felt) as a firm, thickened cord. -Second possibility is Deep Vein Thrombosis which is the condition when blood clots are formed in deep vein system. The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are related to obstruction of blood returning to the heart and causing a backup of blood in the leg. Classically, symptoms include:pain,swelling,warmth, and redness. Not all of these symptoms have to occur; one, all, or none may be present with a deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms may mimic an infection or cellulitis of the leg. Since this both conditions need medical attention I suggest to take her to hospital as soon as possible to get the right diagnoses and treatment. Hope I was able to help you.If you have further questions please feel free to write me,I will be happy to answer. Take care Dr.Rovena