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Ken, Postgraduate doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6559
Experience:  Working as a Doctor who Cares since 2001.
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What causes swelling in one leg and ankle? My mom is 82 years

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What causes swelling in one leg and ankle? My mom is 82 years old--good health--no medication other than her vitamins--Centrium Silver daily

I am Dr Ken and I will be helping you today.

Does she have pain at the calf or leg/ since when is this swelling there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She did have pain just above the ankle the other day. She was sleep tonight when I came home from work but see that her foot and leg is swollen and she attempted to wrap up her leg and elevate it.


Hello Linda,

I can understand your anxiety.

Swelling at one leg is worrisome. The most likely diagnosis {most worrisome} is thrombosis of veins in the leg. Thrombosis leads to blockage of veins carrying blood back to heart from the leg - leading to oozing of fluid from engorged veins and hence the edema or swelling at the leg. This is generally at the most dependent part of the leg {around the ankle}. It is associated with pain {pain increases when you try to squeeze the calf}.

Other causes like lymphedema/ varicose veins/ inflammation of the joints {ankle or knee}/ cellulitis also need to be considered. However I am more worried for thrombosis. The thrombus may dislodge and block veins of the vital organs like lungs, brain. This is dangerous. She may need anticoagulants to dissolve the thrombus.

A physical evaluation {sooner the better} along with few investigations like blood tests/ color doppler for lower limb veins should give us more answers.

Few signs should prompt ER visit - difficulty in breathing/ weakness at any part of the body or loss of consciousness.

Till than - She needs to stay hydrated {dehydration may increase severity of the thrombus}/ have balanced diet/ keep the leg raised whenever possible, raise the leg part of her bed.

Wish her well.


Ken and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much. We actually noticed the swelling when the weather was extremely hot so I thought it had something to do with the heat and dehydration. Thanks again for information.

Wish her well.