Treating swelling that occurs in both legs must be directed at the cause.  When both legs/feet/ankles are swollen, unless an injury has occured to both sides, you likely need to have a visit with your primary care doctor to identify the cause of swelling.  While discussed in more detail here, a review of these causes with possible treatments is below.

1. Venous insufficiency: Some people refer to this as 'poor circulation.'  If the root cause of swelling is diseased veins, this may be addressed with elevation, compression stockings and in some cases a minor procedure to open the veins and allow more blood flow out of the legs.

2. Swelling in the legs can be a secondary effect of liver or heart disease.  It is critical to address the underlying cause of swelling to prevent worse complications.  Your primary care doctor can identify your risk of liver or heart disease and assess you for these conditions.

3. If swelling in the legs is caused by lymphedema, this is another instance where you need to consult your primary care doctor.  Lymphedema can be a localized problem, but it can also be due to a tumor or infection which need to be addressed.

4. Pregnancy is another cause of swelling in the legs.  This is typically caused by a combination of increased fluid in the body from hormonal changes, but worsens as your baby bump grows as this puts a lot of pressure on the large veins in the pelvis.  During pregnancy, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle, but also elevate those feet at the end of the day and the use of compression stockings will also help to prevent pooling of fluid in the legs throughout the day.

5. Injury or blood clot may be a cause of swelling if the injury or blood clot has occured on both limbs.  If you don't recall an injury, make an appointment with your doctor for quick onset swelling.  Blood clots in the legs can travel through the circulatory system and cause serious complications to the lungs and heart.  If you do recall an injury and the PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) method doesn't resolve pain or swelling in a couple of days, make an appointment for a thorough evaluation to ensure no serious damage has occured to underlying bones and ligaments in the foot!

The important lesson here is that if you have swelling in both legs and don't recall an injury - see your primary care doctor as soon as possible!  Because there are so many different causes for this, the cause MUST be identified to provide appropriate treatment of the underlying condition which can then aid in reducing swelling!

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