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What causes swollen legs and ankles?

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Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014
Question: I have swollen legs and ankles. What does it mean? What can I do ?
This just started a few weeks ago but continues every day now.
One worry is that it will prevent me from daily walks.


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Answered by Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Use varicose vein stockings

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would help you with your query.

Edema limited to the legs and ankles at this age, I usually think of:
1. Cardiovascular cause secondary to hypertension
2. Medications related
3. Varicose veins

Cardiovascular and medications cause can be ruled out as there is no history of hypertension or any medications.

I strongly suspect, it could secondary to varicose veins. Its a condition characterized by dilated and tortous veins due to non-functioning valves in veins which normally direct the blood flow back to heart.
Due to increased pressure, venous perfusion and fluid outflow occurs and it results in edema.
It is fairly common in the elderly.
You can try two things:
1. Get a confirmation from you doctor by undergoing doppler examination of lower limb involved.
2. Elastic support stockings/ varicose vein stockings upto knee - It can be used to pressurize the veins and not let the fluids to come out. You should be able to appreciate the changes within a week.

There are other methods like stripping of veins, which i would not advise considering your age and the recent start of symptoms.

Complication of this condition include skin damage/deterioration and ulcer formation (non-healing). Do wear the varicose vein stocking looking into the size required at the earliest.
In the mean time, raise your legs putting two or three pillow in lying position. The legs should be elevated to above the level of heart/head in lying position. At-least a 30-45 degree angle in lying position.
Walking is very important and you need to continue. Avoid any injuries to the foot at this time by wear appropriate protection like shoes, etc.

Any further queries, happy to help again.
Dr. Prakash HM



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda

Geriatrics Specialist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2138 Questions

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What causes swollen legs and ankles?

Brief Answer: Use varicose vein stockings Detailed Answer: Hi, I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would help you with your query. Edema limited to the legs and ankles at this age, I usually think of: 1. Cardiovascular cause secondary to hypertension 2. Medications related 3. Varicose veins Cardiovascular and medications cause can be ruled out as there is no history of hypertension or any medications. I strongly suspect, it could secondary to varicose veins. Its a condition characterized by dilated and tortous veins due to non-functioning valves in veins which normally direct the blood flow back to heart. Due to increased pressure, venous perfusion and fluid outflow occurs and it results in edema. It is fairly common in the elderly. You can try two things: 1. Get a confirmation from you doctor by undergoing doppler examination of lower limb involved. 2. Elastic support stockings/ varicose vein stockings upto knee - It can be used to pressurize the veins and not let the fluids to come out. You should be able to appreciate the changes within a week. There are other methods like stripping of veins, which i would not advise considering your age and the recent start of symptoms. Complication of this condition include skin damage/deterioration and ulcer formation (non-healing). Do wear the varicose vein stocking looking into the size required at the earliest. In the mean time, raise your legs putting two or three pillow in lying position. The legs should be elevated to above the level of heart/head in lying position. At-least a 30-45 degree angle in lying position. Walking is very important and you need to continue. Avoid any injuries to the foot at this time by wear appropriate protection like shoes, etc. Any further queries, happy to help again. Dr. Prakash HM