What Causes Swollen and Hot Leg?

Having a leg that is swollen and hot is a possible indication of a medical condition. The swelling commonly occurs on the ankle or top of the foot, which may eventually become warm to touch. One may experience any of these symptoms or at times a combination of both. Proper knowledge of the underlying medical conditions behind leg swollen and hot is important in order to give a better understanding of the possible causes as well as to provide the best treatments to these conditions. Here we compile some common causes behind these symptoms and if you experience them and still can’t figure it out, see a doctor to get proper treatments.

What Causes Your Legs Swollen and Hot?

1. Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a serious infection caused by bacteria including Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. This commonly affects the skin surface, tissues, and even the bloodstream of the lower legs, the body, or the face.  It can easily spread to the different parts of the body but not easily transferred from one person to another.

Other symptoms include redness of the affected area, tenderness, pain and discomfort, blisters and red spots, skin dimpling, and fever


•    Consult primary health care specialist including family medicine doctor, internists, or in urgent cases, an emergency medicine specialist.

•    Take prescription oral antibiotic to clear the bacterial infection. This may include penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, clindamycin, or levofloxacin

•    Wash the affected area with soap and water.

•    Place a clean and damp cloth on the area for a quick relief.

2. Insect bites and stings

Insect bites cause the reaction of the body to the insect’s venom. Some of the most common carriers include mosquitoes, bees, fleas, wasps, and spiders. This condition is not really dangerous and can easily be treated at home. However, there are cases when anaphylaxis occurs, in which the whole body is affected and may be life-threatening.

Besides leg swollen and hot (if this is the affected area), skin bumps, discomfort, pain, welts, itchiness, and redness of the affected area can be experienced.


•    Clean the area with soap and water.

•    Apply a cold compress to ease the pain and discomfort.

•    Use calamine lotion to relieve itchiness and pain.

•    Take antihistamine cream or pills.

•    In some cases, prescription antibiotics and steroids are also given.

3. Gout

Gout is a medical condition that occurs when the body has too much uric acid. These excess substances will build up as crystals in the joints, leading to pain, possible inflammation, and through time it can also develop to kidney stones under the skin. This condition can be genetically acquired and will attack people who are obese and having improper and unbalanced diets more.

Other symptoms include joint pain, discomfort, redness of the skin or the affected area, difficulty in walking and other movements


•    Take drugs that can lower the uric acid level in the body.

•    Painkillers can also be taken to eases the discomfort.

•    Take medications that can stop further inflammation and swelling.

•    Corticosteroids can be given for severe conditions.

4. Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a condition that occurs when the heart fails to pump the recommended blood in the body. This is due to the presence of clogged arteries that usually occur after an incidence of heart attack. Due to this condition, the other organs in the body are also not getting enough amount of oxygen in order to function properly, thus causing heart conditions.

Other symptoms like fatigue, cough, pain and discomfort, frequent urination, and decreased appetite can also be experienced.


•    Use of ACE inhibitor medications in order to help open and loosen up the blood vessels.

  • Use diuretics to get rid of salt and water in the body.

•    Use of heart muscle stimulants and beta blockers.

•    A surgical procedure which may include heart transplant.

•    Use of devices such as a pacemaker.

5. Water retention

Water retention or edema is a condition where the extra fluids in the body started to build up in the tissue, leading to puffiness and swelling. This normally affects the ankles, legs, hands, and face. Anyone can experience this condition, but the high risk may occur in pregnant women, older people, and those with medical conditions.

More than leg swollen and hot, you can also experience puffiness and difficulty in moving.


•    Self-care treatments which include proper posture and body positioning and wearing of support stockings.

•    Use of water pill or diuretic to increase the release of urine and excess fluid in the body.

•    Try physical therapy activities.

6. Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when there is high blood pressure present in the lung’s blood vessels. This is a serious condition which leads the right side of the heart to pump more blood. The occurrence of this condition may be due to diseases in the lungs, hearts, and other disorders.

Other symptoms: Fatigue, pain and discomfort, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and change in skin color to bluish


•    Medications such as calcium channel blockers, blood vessel dilators, diuretics, and anticoagulants.

•    Proper supply of oxygen.

•    Surgical procedures.

7. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects the autoimmune system. It causes the body to attacks different joints, leading to unbearable symptoms. There are still no known reasons on what triggers the condition and there is still no known cure to totally stop the damages in the joints.

Other symptoms: Aches in the joints, difficulty in walking and movements, pain, discomfort, stiffness, reduced movements, fatigue, and fever


•    Start with disease-modifying antirheumatic drug or DMARD to reduce the damage to the joints.

•    Medications to support the immune system.

•    Use of corticosteroids and biologic agents.

•    Anti-inflammatory medications to control the effects.

•    Physical therapy treatments to enhance movements.

•    Surgical procedure and plasmapheresis or filtering of the blood to remove the harmful antibodies present

8. Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease is another serious condition that slows down and eventually stops the functioning of the kidney. This causes the build-up of the fluids as well as waste products in the body. It is a condition that increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Besides leg swollen and hot, fatigue, decreased urinating frequency, confusion, headache, and sleeping problems may also be experienced.


•    Medications including those to control blood pressure and cholesterol.

•    Use of phosphate binders.

•    Lifestyle changes including proper and well-balanced diet and regular exercise routines.

•    Dialysis.

•    Kidney transplant.

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