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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 34717
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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Leg Swollen After Wearing Tight Knee High Socks All Day.

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I wore tight knee high socks all day (approx 8 hours) and legs were swollen when I took them off. One leg especially was pretty swollen.

It's below my knee. I am scared.

Should I be concerned that I have a blood clot?

Will the swelling go back down?


Do you have pain, redness or warmth on the back portion of leg? Is there any pain in ankle? Are you on any medications or pills?

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Just redness where the socks were. The swelling is on my shin - on the top. No pain or warmth. I am on Kolonopin for anxiety and Albuterol for asthma. Had a myomectomy (major) 10 weeks ago and am off all pain med. The swelling is hard and looks weird, like when you wrap a rubber band around a finger. I have had the socks off for about 15-20 min and the swelling isn't all the way down yet.

I am a little worried about having a blood clot and it going to my heart and lungs. Scary!

I am so worried. Should I be?

Thanks for your fast reply.


The reason of swelling as you mentioned is because of tight socks. The elastic of socks are tight enough to hamper the blood flow of the veins but they cannot block the arterial blood flow. Thus in the leg, blood comes through the arteries, but collect there due to impediment of the flow of veins (can't flow back to heart). This causes the swelling. The stagnation of the blood predisposes for the clot formation. There is nothing to be scared. Not all clots travels to the lung. Early treatment avoid all complications. It is (15-20 minutes) too early to make an impression. The 8 hours stagnated blood takes time to go back in the circulation.

With a known tourniquet effect, one can wait for an hour or two. Lie down with pillows on your whole length of the legs. Sitting with legs elevated does not help because at the hip the veins are compressed and they do not let good flow back.

If you see that swelling on the legs has significantly reduced (say 25%) and their is no appearance of the warmth, pain or tenderness, this means that venous circulation is very good. If the swelling does not go down at all, a visit to an urgent care clinic or ER would be considered.

Please remember, the visit is to rule out any chance of deep vein thrombosis (a physical examination and may be an colored Doppler study would give clarity).

With your presentation it would be less than 1-5% incidence of clots, but we don't want to take any chances. Please don't do massage.

Read about deep vein thrombosis (clots);

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so very much for your reply.

I didn't do massage, but did rub my leg a little.. is that okay? I just did it as I took off the sock because it was so swollen. It has gone down a little, but not all the way. I will lay down with pillows. Please let me know that rubbing a little was okay. I have anxiety and these kind of things freak me out.


Yes, rubbing won't do any harm, so do not worry. But usually this kind of swelling should go itself, so there is no need of doing anything except lying down with legs slightly elevated. I hope that swelling should go down in an hour or so.

It is pleasure assisting you.

Dr. Arun

Dr. Arun Phophalia and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much!! You so put my mind at ease and with anxiety - this is a great feeling. Blessings!

You are welcome.

Good luck.

Dr. Arun