Chronic Leg Swelling

Chronic leg swelling is common and frequently not properly assessed in relation to underlying causes.

Some conditions resulting in leg swelling can be successfully treated with number of procedures.

Corrected diagnosis alleviates anxiety associated with chronically swollen legs and provides symptomatic relief.

Chronic leg swelling can lead towards permanent changes such as skin pigmentation or ulceration. Early diagnosis and treatment prevent inevitable progression and provide patients with better long term outcomes.

The first of two most common reasons for leg swelling is systemic disease affecting organs such as liver, kidneys, heart or thyroid gland. In these circumstances swelling is almost always bilateral (affecting both legs).

The second group of conditions usually resulting in unilateral leg swelling (one leg affected) is related to three different aetiologies.


The most commonly encountered group of problems affecting between 2 and 9% of adult population.

Various causes of venous leg swelling include: varicose veins, deep venous incompetence, post DVT changes (Post-Thrombotic Syndrome, arterio-venous malformations).

The most common condition seen in our society is presence of superficial venous incompetence resulting in primary varicose veins formation.

Varicose veins affect 25-40% of the population. Advanced varicose veins resulting in permanent skin discoloration has prevalence of 5-10% whereas chronic venous ulceration affects up to 1% of our population. Risk of developing this condition raises significantly with age.

Advances in treatment of varicose veins allow treatment of this condition to be frequently provided on an outpatient basis. Endovascular options such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), Laser Ablation (EVLT) or VenaSeal Procedure are associated with excellent outcomes and rapid recovery.


Lymphoedema is a progressive, chronic and very debilitating swelling that can affect upper and lower limbs. It frequently leads to distortion in shape and size associated with reduction in mobility and impaired function. This condition can commence in young adults and frequently affects one limb only involving toes and foot.