Every year, between 4-5 million Americans deal with uncomfortable leg swelling, also called edema. Leg swelling can have lots of causes, including pregnancy and obesity. But often, edema in your lower legs and feet is caused by problems with your veins.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a common cause of leg swelling and varicose veins, too. In this condition, tiny valves inside your veins stop working, making it a lot harder for blood to return to your heart.
As a result, blood and other fluids collect in your lower legs and feet, causing swelling. The remedy: Treat or eliminate the damaged vein, so normal blood flow is restored.
At TLC Medical Group, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, and his team offer state-of-the-art vascular treatments for leg swelling, tailoring each treatment protocol to the needs of the individual patient. If you have leg swelling, here are four treatment options that could help.
Lifestyle changes are often the first line of therapy used in treating mild cases of leg swelling. This approach includes:
- Elevating your legs when possible
- Cutting back on sodium intake
- Getting enough exercise
- Wearing prescription (medical-grade) compression stockings
Depending on your needs, our team might prescribe diuretics to help eliminate excess fluid.
Sclerotherapy has a long history as a treatment for varicose veins, a common cause of leg swelling. In this treatment, a special solution is injected into your vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to collapse on itself.
Once the vein is sealed, blood is rerouted to neighboring veins. The damaged vein is eventually absorbed by your body.
Radiofrequency (RF) ablation works on the same basic principle as sclerotherapy — damage the inside of the vein so it closes off blood flow. But instead of using injected chemical solutions, this technique uses radiofrequency energy delivered to the inside of the vein during a minimally-invasive, in-office treatment. The RF energy heats the vein tissue, causing it to collapse and eventually be absorbed by your body.
Phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive surgical approach to treating the damaged veins that cause leg swelling. In this technique, the doctor makes tiny incisions along the length of the vein, then uses special instruments to remove the vein entirely. Several phlebectomy techniques are available, depending on your needs, including microphlebectomy, stab phlebectomy, and exit phlebectomy.
Leg swelling is a worrisome symptom all on its own, but it’s not the only symptom you can experience. Many people with swelling in their legs, ankles, and feet also have symptoms like:
- Tingling or numbness
- Itching or burning sensations
- Throbbing sensations
- Restless legs or nighttime cramping
- Changes in skin color or texture
- Fatigue or heaviness in your legs
Vein-related symptoms won’t go away on their own — in fact, they’ll probably get worse. Over time, some of the symptoms you’re experiencing could become permanent. Getting prompt medical care can help relieve your symptoms and prevent serious complications that could affect your heart and lungs.
Relieve your leg swelling
Even though different issues can cause leg swelling, one thing remains the same: Leg swelling isn’t normal, and it needs medical attention to find out what’s causing it. To learn what’s causing your leg swelling — and how to relieve it — call the office in Port St. Lucie, Florida, or book an appointment online today.