Swollen legs - Is it peripheral oedema, or something else?

The underlying cause should be diagnosed rather than assuming it is peripheral oedema

Swollen legs are a common presentation in general practice.

The oedema can be unilateral or bilateral, acute or chronic and may have a local cause or be secondary to a systemic condition.

A diagnosis of the underlying cause should be made rather than assuming the swelling is simply peripheral oedema. In particular it is important not to miss a DVT in the acutely swollen leg or legs.

A thorough history and examination will usually allow a provisional diagnosis of the cause to be made, providing direction for ordering appropriate investigations.

The possible causes of swollen