What are the Best Treatments for Leg Pain and Swelling?

Article Details
  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

The best treatments for leg pain and swelling depend on their cause. Common treatments, however, include pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory medications. Pain and swelling can be caused by injury, standing for prolong periods of time, and poor circulation. Rarely, this problem, particularly if located in the back of the calf, can be attributed to a blood clot.

Before an appropriate care plan can be put into place, a medical professional needs to determine what is causing the leg pain and swelling. Medical tests, such as x-rays and MRI, can be helpful in determining the cause. In addition, studies to evaluate blood flow are often recommended when venous causes are suspect. Symptoms that might be attributable to a blood clot need to be diagnosed and treated quickly because the blood clot can break off and travel to the heart or lungs if not treated.

A simple remedy for pain and swelling in the leg is elevating the limb higher than the heart. Leg elevation increases circulation, which can help ease pain and inflammation. In addition, resting the leg so that additional pressure is not exerted on it is also helpful. Applying cold compresses or a heating pad can also help with discomfort and sometimes can even restore mobility and range of motion.

Occasionally, pain and swelling will respond to physical therapy treatments. The physical therapist will evaluate pain sensations, movement, and limitation to determine which therapeutic program will best relieve symptoms. Exercises and strengthening maneuvers are generally helpful in restoring comfort and minimizing inflammation. Physical therapy regimens are typically continued for a few months because healing can be very gradual, especially in cases where injury is the cause of pain and swelling.

A simple, at-home measure treatment is taking a warm bath, since warm water is soothing to muscles and can promote circulation. In addition, gentle massage can also relax stiff muscles; however, these should never be done if a blood clot is suspected. Massaging the calf when a blood clot is present puts the patient at risk for an embolism, which is when a portion of the blood clot travels through the circulatory system and lodges in the lungs or heart. If not immediately diagnosed and treated, an embolism can result in respiratory distress or even death.

Ad

You might also Like

Recommended

Discuss this Article

ZipLine
Post 3

I hate long journeys because the constant sitting in the same position for hours make my legs ache and my ankles swell up. It's so uncomfortable. I yearn to reach my destination and extend my legs and feet. Sometimes it takes a whole day for things to return to normal. Maybe one day I will afford first class plane tickets and won't have to deal with this.

fBoyle
Post 2

@ddljohn-- A foot soak, gentle massage and keeping the feet up should resolve mild leg pain and swelling during pregnancy.

But I must warn you that sudden development of swelling or edema and edema that is severe in pregnancy can be a sign of preeclampsia. This is a condition caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy and edema is one of the major signs.

So please see your doctor if you feel that the swelling has developed suddenly and is more than mild. Preeclampsia is dangerous for you and for the baby and must be brought under control right away. Don't be scared, just tell your doctor about the swelling. If you also have swelling in your hands

, arms or face, these are additional signs of this condition.

If the swelling is very mild and if it's normal, then try to keep your feet elevated as much as possible. Have your partner do a gentle massage which will improve blood circulation and help reduce water retention.

ddljohn
Post 1

What is the best remedy for leg, ankle and feet pain and swelling during pregnancy? I do foot soaks and they do help but they don't resolve it entirely.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email