Approach to Lower Extremity Edema

Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2017 Mar;19(3):16. doi: 10.1007/s11936-017-0518-6.


Lower extremity edema is extremely common among patients seen across multiple specialties. The differential diagnosis is broad and ranges from simple dependent edema to more complex conditions such as chronic venous disease and lymphedema. Several key features from the history and physical exam can assist with the diagnosis. Imaging is rarely necessary at the initial visit unless venous thromboembolism is suspected. Treatment is specific to the etiology of the edema, but compression stockings, elevation, exercise, and weight loss remain the cornerstone in most cases.

Keywords: Edema; Lipedema; Lymphedema; Swelling; Venous Insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Review