Lower limb swelling can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from minor concerns to more significant medical conditions. If you have chronic or worrying swelling, It is strongly advised that you to see a doctor for an exact evaluation and diagnosis.
That being said, the following processes may be involved in evaluating swelling in the lower limbs:
- Medical History: Your healthcare professional will first ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and any recent injuries or illnesses. Providing information regarding the swelling’s development, length, and characteristics will aid in establishing the underlying reason.
- Physical Exam: Your lower limbs will be examined to determine the level of edoema, the existence of any skin abnormalities (such as redness or warmth), and any other associated symptoms. Your doctor may also look for evidence of circulatory issues or abnormal fluid retention.
- Diagnostic testing: Based on the first evaluation, your healthcare provider may request additional diagnostic testing to determine the reason of the swelling. These could include:
- Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to assess kidney function, liver function, blood cell counts, and inflammatory indicators.
- Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive technique that employs sound waves to evaluate blood flow and detect any blockages or irregularities in the blood vessels.
- X-rays: X-rays may be ordered to look for fractures or abnormalities in the bones and joints.
- CT scan or MRI: These imaging procedures provide more comprehensive views of internal leg tissues such as muscles, tendons, and blood arteries.
- Echocardiography: If cardiac abnormalities are suspected, an echocardiography may be performed to evaluate the structure and function of the heart.
- Lymphoscintigraphy: A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the foot to trace the flow of lymphatic fluid. It aids in the evaluation of lymphatic system function.
- Referral to a Specialist: Based on the first evaluation and test results, your healthcare provider may send you to a specialist, such as a cardiologist, vascular specialist, rheumatologist, or orthopaedic expert, to evaluate the underlying cause of the swelling.
Remember to seek the advice of a healthcare expert for an accurate evaluation and diagnosis. They will be able to examine your individual circumstances and advise you on the best course of action.