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What causes leg swelling?

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Video Overview

What causes leg swelling? Leg swelling actually can have many causes. Some of the more common ones are things like kidney problems, heart problems, lymphatic problems or even medications can cause them. In most cases, the problem is with the veins. What happens is we get wrong way blood flow in the veins if the valves do not close correctly. When we get this backwards blood flow, we get a state called reflex. We can imagine all that blood flowing in the wrong way in the vein causes a lot of pressure. That increased pressure pushing on the walls of the veins causes some of the fluids inside the blood to actually leak outside the veins. Now, in the soft tissue around the veins of the lower leg, we start to get edema, swelling. The longer it goes on, the more swelling that we get. The swelling is what everybody perceives as ankle swelling at the end of the day. In most cases, the swelling is not too bad. But if left long enough, it can actually cause skin changes. The skin changes can actually lead to skin breakdown and in many cases if left long enough, it will actually get ulceration.

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