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Diagnostic Tests for Leg swelling

Diagnostic Test list for Leg swelling:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Leg swelling includes:

  • Physical examination
    • Temperature
    • Inspect legs for size and symmetry, any bruises, swellings, discoloration, ulcers or rashes If swelling is due to edema , is it pitting(skin is indented when pressure is applied) or non- pitting - can assist in determining cause of edema (swelling) e.g. bilateral pitting edema occurs in heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, nephrotic syndrome, malabsorption form the gastrointestinal tract; unilateral pitting edema occurs in deep venous thrombosis and with compression of large veins by pelvic tumor or lymph nodes; non-pitting edema occurs in hypothyroidism and lymphedema.
    • Signs of edema - If swelling is due to edema ,examine for signs of possible causes such as congestive cardiac failure , liver cirrhosis , nephritic syndrome, deep venous thrombosis , hypothyroidism and varicose veins (e.g. examine for enlarged liver which may suggest cirrhosis or cardiac disease; ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity) along with enlarged liver would suggest cirrhosis of the liver or constrictive pericarditis; enlarged liver without ascites would suggest congestive cardiac failure.
    • Feel the leg for local causes of swelling, pain and tenderness
    • Examine for signs of acute lower limb ischemia (sudden obstruction of arterial blood supply from thrombosis (clot) or embolism (plug) - e.g. pitting edema of foot, absent pulses, cool pale skin, loss of hair on lower feet and legs, ulcers on foot, gangrene of skin on toes.
    • Examine the lymph nodes in groin which may be enlarged with leg cellulitis
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count and ESR
    • Renal function tests
    • Electrolytes
    • Liver function test can diagnose cirrhosis and hypoalbuminaemia which may be a cause of ankle and lower leg edema
    • Thyroid function tests
    • Serum protein electrophoresis
    • If recurrent DVT or family history of thrombosis test for antithrombin III, protein S and protein C deficiency
    • D-dimer testing is a sensitive indicator of active deep venous thrombosis
    • Blood cultures, if suspect cellulitis or osteomyelitis
  • Urine tests
    • Increased protein in urine can help detect Nephrotic syndrome
    • Abnormal urinary sediment may suggest nephritis due to glomerulonephritis, diabetes mellitus or a collagen disease
  • Radiological examination
    • X-ray of leg
    • Chest X-Ray looking for signs of congestive cardiac failure
    • Echocardiogram to determine left ventricular ejection fraction, if suspect congestive cardiac failure as cause of bilateral pitting edema
    • CT Scan of chest, if suspect constrictive pericarditis
    • CT Scan of abdomen and pelvis, if suspect compression of large veins by abdominal tumor
    • Contrast lymphangiography, if suspect lymphedema
    • Bone scan may be needed to diagnose osteomyelitis or obscure fractures
  • Vascular tests
    • Duplex ultrasound scan - can detect deep venous thrombosis and measure blood flow in peripheral vascular disease.
    • Venous pool radionuclide scan - can help diagnose deep venous thrombosis.
    • Contrast venography - can help diagnose deep venous thrombosis if duplex ultrasound scan and radionuclide scan are negative.
  • Electrocardiogram

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Leg swelling:

The following list of conditions have 'Leg swelling' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Leg swelling:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Leg swelling' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.

 

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