Medical Reasons Why Your Legs Might Be Swelling Up

Doctor check up on a patients leg

While puffy legs can be a reminder you had a long day on your feet, they can sometimes be an indicator of a serious medical condition. If you are not pregnant and have not sprained your ankle, but you are swelling up, one of the following medical conditions could be to blame.

Deep Vein Thrombosis or Thrombophlebitis

Deep vein thrombosis refers to a blood clot that develops within one or more deep veins in the body. Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory process that causes blood clots to form and block a vein closer to the surface of the skin.

Common early symptoms of DVT or thrombophlebitis include a puffy leg and leg pain or cramping. DVT can turn fatal if the clot breaks and travels to the lung. See a leg pain expert in St. George such as Heart of Dixie Vein Center immediately if you experience DVT symptoms.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are gnarled, swollen and enlarged veins. While any vein can become varicose, the veins most commonly affected are those in the feet and legs. Other symptoms include changes in skin color, pain after standing or sitting for a long time, sores and dry, irritated and cracked skin.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure makes the heart too weak to pump blood around the body properly. The condition often causes swelling in the legs or fluid buildup in the abdomen. Other common symptoms of congestive heart failure are troubled breathing, tiredness, and coughing.


Puffy legs are sometimes a side effect of certain prescription drugs. See your doctor if you get puffy legs while taking NSAIDs, diabetes medications, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, or hormone medicines that contain progesterone or estrogen.

Long-Term Kidney Disease

When kidneys do not work as designed, fluid gathers in the body. Fluid buildup leads to swelling in the legs and arms. Other symptoms of kidney trouble include shortness of breath, excessive thirst, fatigue, nausea, and bruising and bleeding.

If you have puffy legs, some home remedies can help reduce the swelling. However, since leg swelling can be a symptom of something serious, you should never ignore it. Seek medical attention right away especially if the swelling comes with leg pain, fatigue and shortness of breath.