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Pedal Edema: Definition, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Have you ever experienced swelling of the legs or ankles? If so, chances are you’re experiencing pedal edema. There are various factors as well as diseases that cause this to occur. Learn more about Pedal Edema: Definition, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.

 

What is pedal Edema?

Pedal Edema definition

Pedal edema occurs when fluid gathers in the upper and lower legs. The condition most often affects older or pregnant people. Therefore, people who experience pedal edema are usually difficult to move because the legs are often numb.

 

What are the symptoms that arise for people with pedal edema?

Pedal edema can cause adverse health damage. This may not be a serious condition but it could be the underlying cause. Pedal edema generally occurs if you are pregnant or elderly. Pedal edema causes the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of the legs, limbs, and ankles.
  • Constant discomfort
  • Interference in the style of walking
  • Reduced mobility (difficulty walking)
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Sensation disorders in the legs
  • Skin ulcers

One of the main reasons pedals edema are inactive is because they don’t do a lot of activities or sit for long periods. When you are on a long journey, long flight, or inactive for other reasons, you may experience pain and swelling in the upper part of the leg.

This pain and swelling will usually be reduced with basic heating exercises. If the pain, swelling, and discomfort continue, seek medical help immediately as this may imply a blood clot in the blood vessels (deep vein thrombosis).

 

What causes Pedal edema?

Pedal edema can be distinguished into two types:

  • Bilateral pedal edema (occurs on both legs)
  • Unilateral pedal edema (occurs on one leg, right or left)

Acute bilateral pedal edema indwells swelling of the legs due to treatment or bilateral DVT (Deep vein thrombosis). Bilateral chronic pedal edema in the elderly is caused by venous insufficiency.

In addition, it can also arise due to heart failure, kidney or liver disease. Some women also experience short-term pedal edema in pregnancy, which will usually heal after childbirth.

Unilateral pedal edema causes swelling of only one leg or ankle. It can also be caused by DVT or cellulitis, ruptured popliteal cysts, gastrocnemius musculostheneneus rupture, and other traumas.

Bilateral and unilateral pedals edema are classified as pitting and non-pitting pedal edema.

  • Pedal Edema pitting causes dimples or “holes” if pressed by the finger for a few seconds. You can learn more about Pitting Edema: What is it Symptoms and Causes ( How to Treatment, Scale, Grading.
  • Non-pitting pedal edema causes swelling but does not cause dimples or holes as in external forces.

Some of the health disorders most likely to cause bilateral pedal edema are as follows:

  • Obesity
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Venous Insufficiency
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Liver Disease
  • Anemia
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Myxoedema
  • Heart failure
  • Lymphedema
  • Hypothyroidism

 

Some of the causes of unilateral pedal edema are as follows:

  • Venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pelvic tumor
  • Sympathetic reflex dystrophy
  • Lymphoedema
  • Baker’s ruptured cyst

 

How is Edema Pedal Diagnosis Done?

Diagnosis of pedal edema can be done with the help of a physical examination by a general practitioner and see a history of the disease if any. As a first step, the doctor will do the following:

  • Rule out systemic diseases and complete metabolic panels
  • Counting complete blood
  • Analyzing urine to be done by a cardiologist
  • If albumin levels below 2 gm/dl indicate edema caused by malnutrition, liver or kidney disease
  • If pulmonary hypertension along with sleep apnea is suspected, then an echocardiogram (ECG) should be performed
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