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Swelling in Left Calf
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naisse posted:
On Monday evening, as I was getting dressed to go running, I noticed that my left calf was swollen and much larger than my right calf. Before running I had my room mate (an ex-athletic trainer) look at it and she said I should be ok to run. After my run the swelling had gone down a quite a bit, but the leg was still swollen.

When I woke up on Tuesday both calves were the same size. Later that evening I was getting dressed to play volleyball and again noticed that my left calf was swollen and much larger than my right calf. After playing volleyball for about 2 hours, the swelling had gone down quite a bit, but the leg was still swollen.

I woke up this morning, Wednesday, and both legs were the same size. Now I'm sitting at my desk at work and I have noticed that my left leg has swollen to be much larger than my right leg.

The swelling is the only symptom I have associated with my calf. There is no pain, no numbness, no bruising. There has been no recent trauma to my leg and I haven't recently changed any exercise or eating habits. The swelling occurs only in my calf and shin (not in my thigh, knee, ankle, or foot).

I'm wondering if anyone has experienced something like this before, if anyone might know why this is happening (if you need more details, I'll be happy to give them if I have them) and/or how seriously I should consider having a doctor look at it. I hate when I go to the doctor and come out feeling like I've wasted his time and my money (I can't count how many times I've heard: "It's just a virus. Drink plenty of fluids and get some rest.").

Thanks, naisse
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Naisse,

It would be a good idea to seek medical care for this to ensure your good health. In the meantime, click here for some possibilities, and try our Symptom Checker as well.
 
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emishy responded:
Naisse,

Wondering if you had any conclusion to your swollen left calf. I recently began running - about six weeks ago - and was able to run/walk 5 miles this past Sunday. I haven't been too sore at all, however yesterday after sitting at my desk all day I work noticed my left calf began to swell up. It was very numb as well but no pain. I took some IBUprofin and put my leg up last night and the swelling went down tremendously. Today I still have no pain, a little sore/tightness on the back of my calf and thigh but thats it. I know that it is probably just a muscle strain, however I have been reading a lot about blood clots and such. I'd really like to avoid going to the doctor so just wanted to see if you had any word from your doctor or other individuals.

Thanks in advance.

emishy
 
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tbra1986 responded:
I HAVE THIS TOO..IN MY LEFT CALF...THE EXACT SAME THING AND I AM A RUNNER AS WELL....SAME STORY. I MIGHT CHECK IT OUT AT THE DOCTOR. I NOTICE IT HAPPENS AFTER I HAVE BEEN WALKING AROUND ALOT AND THEN SIT OR SLOW DOWN...SOMETHING ABOUT CIRCULATION?
 
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tbra1986 responded:
HELLO, I HAVE THIS AS WELL, I RUN ALSO. WAS WONDERING IF YOU FOUND ANYTHING ELSE OUT? THANKS
 
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jessica_lynne_4 responded:
I have the same thing in my left calf and have had it for about a month now. It doesnt happen all the time, probably 5x a week. i am going to the doctor today to get it looked at . i dont run or do any strenuous excersize. i am in great shape, i do pilates but thats it. nothing changes from day to day so im not sure what caused it or why but if i find anything out i will be sure to let you know... thank you
 
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km599274 responded:
Hi everyone, I am so glad to find out I am not alone! my left calf has been swollen for a year and a half, I run alot, or I used to, and when I sit down for long car rides or at my desk my left leg seems huge compared to my right, I have had everytest known to man done on my leg, they ruled out compartment syndrome, I guess since I have no pain, my toes just go a little numb, the only answer i ever get is too strech and ice, I am wondering if its circulation problems? I also drink no water as well, if you guys find out any answers that would be great!!
 
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tonja1971 responded:
I have been having the SAME issue. Ended up going to the doctor this am who wanted to rule out a blood clot and I'm waiting to hear the results. Just wondered if you ever found anything out? I'm fairly certain I do NOT have a clot just waiting for final results from the radiologist which then raises the question, if it's not a clot...what is it? Any ideas??
 
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hudinslorie responded:
I have had this problem for about 4 years. I have been to 3 different medical doctors and a physical therapist. I've had tests done for blot clots, deep vein thrombosis. They have not figured it out. I am still very concerned about the problem but do not know where to turn now. The problem seems to have a mind of its own. If anyone has any suggests or finds out anything, please let me know.

Thanks,
 
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foodie77 responded:
I have had similar symptoms in the left calf for the last 2 years. Have you received a diagnosis? Also, did you notice that the swelling started after a treartment/procedure was performed on your left foot or leg? Mine started a few months after treatment for a plantar wart on my left heel.

Possible causes of leg swelling include DVT, lymphedema, and compression of the left iliac vein (May-Thurner syndrome). I haven't found out what is causing the swelling in my case but am going for an MRI to rule out iliac vein compression.
 
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rebeccadewinter responded:
I have the same weird symptoms: swelling and tightness in my calves (left much more than right). My feet look fine, no pain, no "pitting"...just tightness that increases when I flex my foot toward my shin. I notice it when I am sitting at my desk at work. They soften right up when I get home and put my feet on the ottoman.

I first noticed my gigantic left calf about 2 weeks ago. I am a long-term jogger and had just started running again after about 4 months off, but never noticed any problem during my runs. Just sitting at the desk. Climbing the stairs sometimes I feel like my legs are made of lead. I am a 46 y.o woman, pre-menopausal, normal weight. 18 months ago I was in the best shape of my life---running, lifting, yoga, tennis, 21% body fat. so I'm spoiled and I'm not prepared to have some freaky immune/cancer/neuromuscular condition!

Things I've ruled out: DVT (venous doppler was negative) cardiac problems (no "pitting", no shortness of breath) Kidney problems (no pitting, BUN & Creatinine normal) Tumor in my Colon (colonoscopy negative) Tumor in my uterus/ovaries (pelvic exam okay) Pretty sure it's not Lymphoma or other retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy (no constitutional symptoms and the swelling isn't consistent with typical lymphedema)

My doctor is stumped, but he is cooperative. Any ideas for further diagnostic workup?

As for the "procedure connection" mentioned by foodie77---no procedures or injury....but I do have a plantar wart on the sole of my left foot! Also some pretty bothersome lower back pain---it's really slowed me down in the past year, which is why I'm out of shape with this stupid mystery illness.

I hope previous posters will come back to this thread and update us!
 
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markmar responded:
Hi...did you get any answers to your calf swelling? I have the same problem, but on my Right calf. It has been a problem now for 6 months. I had 2 ultra sounds, and all was fine, no DVT. I am seeing a vascular surgeon today.
 
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rebeccadewinter responded:
I have no new information. PLEASE update with any new results! Still looking for an answer! I can't help but wonder what has become of all the previous posters!
 
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foodie77 responded:
I had an MRI of the pelvis a few days ago and am now awaiting the results and follow-up appointment with a vascular surgeon.

There are a variety of things that can cause leg swelling, but the surgeon I went to mentioned one in particular that preferentially causes swelling of the left leg: May-Thurner syndrome (AKA iliac vein compression). In this condition, the left iliac vein is compressed, usually between the right iliac artery and a vertebra, leading to fibrosis within the vein, reduced blood flow, and swelling in the leg.

May-Thurner is most often seen in women in their 20s-40s and almost always affects the left leg. Usually an MRI of the pelvis with contrast is needed to see the vein compression, as it often does not show up on ultrasound. The condition increases the risk of developing blood clots in the affected leg, making diagnosis especially important so preventative measures can be taken. Treatments include use of compression stockings, and in some cases procedures such as vein stenting.

Most vascular surgeons know about May-Thurner, but many primary care docs might not be familiar with the condition (as well as other less common causes of leg swelling). So if your PCP is stumped, consider seeing a specialist. In addition, if ultrasound results have been negative, it might be a good idea to have an MRI of the leg/pelvis.

I will update with MRI results once they are in. Good luck to all.
 
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rebeccadewinter responded:
I convinced my primary care doc that I needed further work up. There's obviously something going on, and if it's a tumor I need to know sooner than later. Saw Vascular Surgeon today and will have ultrasound and AAA screen (strong family history) in 2 weeks. Even if it's confirmed May-Thurner, he doesn't recommend stenting.....just elevation, stockings and watching for clotting. He says it could be some gynecological tumor (thought my pelvic exam had ruled that out...guess not) and it could be lymphoma ("people only lose weight and have constitutional symptoms in advanced disease") so that totally sucks. I wish I could email the people at the beginning of this thread directly and ask them what their diagnosis turned out to be!


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