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Leg Problems,Noninjury

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Swollen feet are common after you have been sitting or standing for long periods of time or during hot or humid weather. Sitting or lying down and elevating your legs will often relieve this type of swelling. Conditions that put increased pressure on the belly and pelvis, such as obesity and pregnancy, also can cause swelling in the feet and ankles and varicose veins.

  • Varicose veins can affect both men and women and may only cause a problem in one leg. For more information, see the topic Varicose Veins.
  • The swelling in the feet and ankles that occurs during pregnancy usually gets worse toward the end of the pregnancy and goes away after delivery. For more information, see the topic Pregnancy-Related Problems.

Many medicines can cause problems in the legs. For example, birth control pills and other hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, while water pills (diuretics), heart medicines, and cholesterol-lowering medicines (statins) can cause muscle cramps.

Some leg problems are only present at night:

  • Restless legs syndrome causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. This can interrupt sleep make you overly tired during the day. You may have a "pins-and-needles," prickling, creeping, crawling, tingling, and sometimes painful feeling in your legs. Moving your legs can provide short-term relief. For more information, see the topic Restless Legs Syndrome.
  • Nighttime leg cramps are a sudden tightening (contraction) of the leg muscles in the calf, thigh, or foot. They often occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up. They can be painful and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Walking or stretching your leg can sometimes help relieve nighttime leg cramps.

Most minor leg problems will heal on their own, and home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing. But serious leg problems also may occur and require prompt evaluation by a doctor.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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