Miller Vein Blog

What your swollen legs may be trying to tell you

What your swollen legs may be trying to tell you

Posted by Miller Vein Team on Jul 7, 2018 12:00:00 PM

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There are many reasons why your legs may swell. A common cause of leg swelling is fluid build-up. This extra fluid retention in one or both legs is often referred to as edema. Swelling may also be attributed to inflammation, which may have many causes such as injury.

Overall, there are several potential causes of swelling of the legs, including congestive heart failure (even before shortness of breath), pulmonary hypertension (which can be associated with sleep apnea), and a variety of systemic illnesses and medications, just to name a few. Leg swelling may cause legs to feel heavy, a common symptom that can also be attributed to abnormal vein function and related conditions…

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may trigger swelling of the legs and/or ankles. Venous insufficiency is the cause of varicose veins and refers to poorly functioning or incompetent veins inside your leg. For sufferers of varicose veins, swelling and accompanying discomfort will likely worsen as the day progresses.


A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests varicose veins increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a blood clot that commonly develops in the deep veins of your legs. The primary function of our veins is to return blood to the lungs and heart, so it can be cleaned and recirculated throughout the body. Like any blood clot, DVT can cause painful swelling. But, when it comes to DVT, swelling is only one concern of many. If undiagnosed and untreated, DVT can lead to serious complications including Pulmonary Embolism (PE), which can sometimes be fatal.

A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests varicose veins increase the risk of DVT.


Lymphedema is a progressive condition that refers to excessive, long-term swelling of arms or legs due to blockage in the lymphatic system. This swelling in the extremities results from removal or damage to the lymph nodes or lymphatic ducts. When lymph fluid cannot properly drain from the extremity, it causes fluid buildup and swelling.


Especially in the later stages of pregnancy, the baby continues to grow larger and larger which can put a great deal of pressure on the veins in your legs. At the same time, a mother’s body continues to produce an increased amount of blood to support the baby’s needs while in the womb. With the veins under pressure from both the baby and excess blood, circulation is often slowed and mild swelling in the legs may occur. This is typically temporary and resolves within a short amount of time after delivery of the baby.

Sometimes leg swelling can be uncomfortable, or even painful. Other times, swollen legs seem to only have a visual impact—which may cause emotional discomfort or embarrassment. If you suspect your leg swelling may be due to a disruption of normal vein function, it’s important to be evaluated by a trained vein specialist.

Need to schedule a complimentary vein evaluation? Contact Miller Vein today.

Tags: venous disease, Miller Vein, Varicose veins, Venous Insufficiency, lymphedema, women's health, men's health, dvt, pregnancy, swollen legs