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Long-standing swollen legs (Chronic Oedema)

Chronic oedema is swelling or puffiness in the ankles or legs which has lasted for more than 3 months. The swelling does not improve when you put your legs up. The skin may feel harder and thicker

Causes

There are many causes, but a common one is sitting still for long periods of time. The medical term is ‘dependency oedema’. Another cause is ‘lymphovenous disease’ - poor circulation in the veins back to your heart. A condition called ‘lymphoedema’ can cause swelling anywhere in the body. Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system is not working properly.

Advice

As legs can swell for a range of reasons - see your nurse or GP, who will diagnose the cause and give appropriate advice.

Treatment

Compression therapy, either bandages or hosiery such as ActiLymph, works quickly and effectively if the swelling is caused by poor venous blood flow back to the heart.

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