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What do you do when your legs swell?

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Quick Answer

Raising the legs above the heart, avoiding tight clothing and exercising the legs may help reduce swelling in the legs, according to MedlinePlus. Following a low-salt diet, wearing support stockings and walking around may also help relieve swelling.

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What do you do when your legs swell?
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Full Answer

The most common causes of swelling in the legs include a blood clot, being overweight, infection and increased age, explains MedlinePlus. Injury may also cause swelling in the leg, as can standing or sitting for long periods of time. Women who are pregnant or at a certain point in their menstrual cycle may also experience swelling in the legs. Swollen legs may also be a sign of serious conditions such as kidney, liver or heart failure. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, hormones and steroids, may also cause leg swelling.

Most leg swelling is not serious, but if the swelling is associated with shortness of breath or chest pain, it is important to call 911 immediately, advises MedlinePlus. Individuals should contact a primary care doctor if experiencing leg swelling along with heart disease, fever or redness. Pregnant women should contact a doctor if experiencing a sudden increase in leg swelling. A doctor should also be contacted if leg swelling doesn't go down with self-care measures.

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