Swelling & redness of the lower leg

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Swelling & redness of the lower leg
(Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Swelling and redness of the lower portion of the leg may indicate a serious medical condition. If you have persistent redness and swelling of the leg, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Shin Splints

Symptoms of swelling and redness of the front of the lower leg that begin during or after exercise, may be a condition known as shin splints. Shin splints are a painful condition that occurs if the muscle tendons in the front of the leg are torn away from the bone. This may cause swelling, pain and mild redness.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that occurs in the deep venous system of the lower leg. This may cause swelling, redness and warmth of the leg. The causes of DVT are prolonged immobility due to travel, surgery, obesity, pregnancy, medication (such as birth control pills) and trauma to the leg. DVT is a serious condition that requires medical attention.


Cellulitis is an infection that occurs deep in the skin. The lower leg is one area that is prone to this infection. Cellulitis causes redness, swelling, pain and fever. The lymph nodes in the body may also become swollen and tender. An antibiotic is often prescribed to treat cellulitis, as well as corticosteroids.


Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein in the lower portion of the leg. This condition may cause pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the leg. Some causes of phlebitis are complications from a blood transfusion, medications and an IV catheter infection. The treatments for phlebitis may include hot packs, cold packs, compression bandages and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


A fracture of the bone in the lower portion of the leg, can cause swelling, redness, bruising and pain. If these symptoms develop after an injury to the leg, see your doctor. An X-ray of the leg will assist the doctor in diagnosing a fracture. Treatment for a fracture may include rest and casting or splinting, depending on the severity of the injury.

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