Injury or surgery involving the leg, ankle, or foot can also cause swelling. Swelling may also occur after pelvic surgery, especially for cancer.
Long airplane flights or car rides, as well as standing for long periods of time, often lead to some swelling in the feet and ankles.
Swelling may occur in women who take estrogen, or during parts of the menstrual cycle. Most women have some swelling during pregnancy. More severe swelling during pregnancy may be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition that includes high blood pressure and swelling.
Your treatment will focus on the cause of the swelling. Your provider may prescribe diuretics to reduce the swelling, but these can have side effects. Home treatment for leg swelling that is not related to a serious medical condition should be tried before drug therapy.
Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 51.
Seller RH, Symons AB. Swelling of the legs. In: Seller RH, Symons AB, eds. Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 31.
Trayes KP, Studdiford JS, Pickle S, Tully AS. Edema: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2013;88(2):102-110. PMID: 23939641 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23939641/.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.