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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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Why do I have an indentation in my upper left calf, about 3-4

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Why do I have an indentation in my upper left calf, about 3-4 inches down from the back of my knee? It looks like 2 indentation lines. It looks like I'm getting a very slight indentation on my right calf as well. I am young (27 yrs) and eat pretty well. I don't excercise that much, but I do walk some during work. I just went to an Internal Medicine doctor, he said everything was perfectly normal. (Did blood test as well). I have had chiro problems though, loose ligaments, and need adjustments pretty frequently.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer Health for you question.

Does this indentation ever go away? For example, is it gone in the morning when you wake up and only present in the evening? You said these are lines, but I would like to clarify, if so, how long and wide are the lines?

I have an answer for you regarding the veins, but if you could reply about the lines first we will discuss this first. Also, do you have any swelling to your ankles? For example, if you press over the tibial bone (the front bone below the knee which is prominent all the way to your ankle) does it leave a temporary indentation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I haven't noticed that it goes away.. I will have to check in the morning.
The "lines" are maybe a couple inches wide from side to side and about 1 inch high, from line to line. The "lines" have actually faded a bit right now, and just look more like an overall indentation. The flesh in the indentation is the slightest bit darker than the surrounding flesh.
YES, if I press on my tibial bone, I do get a temporary indentation..!
No swelling in my ankles. I have had quite a bit of problems with this left leg, however. my lower back goes out with pain down my left leg, and my left foot/ankle has been going out a lot recently.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. If you have an indentation when you press on your tibial bone, this shows that you do have some edema (swelling). But don't worry, many females have this and it is not significant, it is thought that it is hormone related, especially if there are no other symptoms, such as what you were told by your docter. (Slight amounts of edema like this can be very difficult to notice, and take a trained eye in most cases.) You can also consider getting compression hosiery to wear during the day (not as easy to accomplish in the Summer) or elevate your legs several times per day.

You can keep your own "eye" on the edema and if it increases significantly let you doctor know. Occasionally edema like this can occur due to high blood pressure, and if that were the cause the first line treatment is to take a diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide. Of course losing weight and making sure one is not eating too much salt (often caused by eating pre-prepared foods) are other measures that can decrease blood pressure and edema. And again, there are cases of hypertension that are not weight related, but if not weight related, very often are stress related, so stress reduction exercises can help if the cause.

As far as the varicosities - I am unsure if you have surface vessels visible or if you are noticing larger blood vessels prominently. This again can be related to excess weight, but in some people for no particular reason, except perhaps how their body is built. Varicosities are also more common in women, and during pregnancy often become more prominent due to the enlarging uterus pressing on pelvic veins. Another possible cause of varicose veins are malfunctioning valves in the veins (the valves in veins prevent back flow of blood - thus if they are malfunctioning fluid will build up in the tissue causing edema). Obesity also can cause the veins not to close all the way, as can high venous blood pressures, but also some people may have a few dysfunctional valves just as inherited trait). Finally another cause of varicosities, especially the small ones (called spider veins) may result years after there was an injury such as a bruise in that area. So sometimes spider veins are found in areas where bruising injuries occurred as a child or later.

Regarding the lower back and leg problem. In simple terms this could be from a disc that is flattening and putting pressure on a nerve, and/or it could be caused by an irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Besides following what your doctor suggest for this (often NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or naprosyn can help) you could also consider a gentle stretching program. Sometimes your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist who can give you a program, or you can look for a certified yoga instructor (make sure they are teaching gentle or beginning yoga - a YMCA/YWCA or a hospital are good places to make sure you are starting off with a yoga course that is safe) to learn stretching exercises. These exercises over time can really help this sort of back problem, especially if you start at young age, like yourself. The exercises involve stretching but they also strengthen your core muscles, giving your hips and lower back greater stability.

I hope this helps. If you have additional questions please respond to this post so that I may assist you further.



Edited by Susan Ivy on 4/8/2010 at 2:36 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Just one last question... does anything change your answer if the indentation does go away in the morning? Just want to be sure..
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 4 years ago.
IF the indentation doesn't go away, I would just wonder if there had been an injury to the tissue. It will be very perplexing if it does not go away, but not something necessarily worrisome. My guess is that you were in a position where your leg was against something for quite a long time, and that this will be gone by morning. I guess we will see!
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4057
Experience: BSN, MSN, CNS
Susan Ivy and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay, cool. I'm sure it will go away in the morning, it's already looking very faint and I pressed on my tibial bone again and no temporary indentation... I got off my feet though, so I guess you're right, just some kind of swelling. I do eat some amount of pre-prepared foods with undoubtedly a lot of sodium, so I will definitely cut back on those. Thank you for your advice, it was very helpful!!

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