The first and most important step in treating left leg swelling is to determine the cause of the swelling. Such swelling often occurs in both legs at the same time, so if it is occurring only in the left leg, it may be wise to visit a doctor immediately to find out the cause so that one can receive the suitable treatment.
Swelling, also called edema, may have many different reasons. It may result from injury, infection, allergy or due to chronic conditions related to the heart, liver or kidneys. While some conditions that cause it are relatively minor and temporary, others can be quite serious and indicative of a much more serious problem.
A blood clot is a potentially serious condition that can cause left leg swelling. This occurs when blood is pumped into an artery, but the blood cannot be pumped out of a vein due to a blockage. A blood clot can occur for a variety of reasons, and this clotting can cause serious health issues. It will need to be addressed immediately by a doctor, who may recommend medication or surgery. The left leg will become puffy, and this swelling will sometimes be accompanied by pain, weakness, tenderness, or numbness. If any of these conditions occur, seek medical treatment immediately.
A certain type of edema only occurs in the left leg because of the position of the artery in relation to the veins that service the left leg. Such edema is usually benign and not life-threatening, though it is still wise to see a doctor immediately to eliminate the possibility of a more serious condition.
Left leg swelling can also occur as a result of a direct impact or trauma to the leg. Injuries such as fractures will cause swelling at the site of the injury, and swelling will slow the healing process and likely increase pain. The injuries that cause swelling are not always serious conditions, though swelling is often painful and can limit mobility of the leg. The RICE treatment is often used for such injuries; RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.