Leg swelling can occur in any part of the legs, including the feet, ankles, calves and thighs. Leg swelling can result either from fluid buildup (fluid retention) or from inflammation in injured or diseased tissues or joints.
Many of the causes of leg swelling, such as an injury or prolonged standing or sitting, are common, easily identified and no reason for concern. Sometimes leg swelling can indicate a more serious disorder, such as heart disease or a blood clot.
Seek medical care right away if your legs swell for no apparent reason, especially if you have unexplained leg pain, difficulty breathing, chest pain or other warning signs of a blood clot in your lungs or a heart condition.
March 05, 2022
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing!
You'll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
- Sterns RH. Pathophysiology and etiology of edema in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 30, 2020.
- Edema. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/symptoms-of-cardiovascular-disorders/edema?query=edema#. Accessed Jan. 30, 2020.
- Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Lower extremity edema. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2020. 59th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2020. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan. 30, 2020.
- Edema (swelling) and cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/edema. Accessed Jan. 30, 2020.
- Smith CC. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of edema in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 30, 2020.
- Seller RH, et al. Swelling of the legs. In: Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 1, 2020.