Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are my legs swollen after playing in the snow?"
I am a 22 year old student who played in the snow a couple of days ago. At first, I thought getting swollen feet is normal after playing in the snow, but they got more red and swollen after taking a hot shower. I showed my feet to my parents and they said it would go down in a day, but its been getting worse and worse. I am really worried. What should I do?
Swelling of your feet can be a concerning symptom. While this could be normal, I would strongly recommend that you have this evaluated by your primary care doctor. There are a few conditions that should be ruled out. Keep in mind this could be normal for a short period of time. When you body is exposed to heat, it tries to get rid of the heat. It does it by sending more blood to the skin so the heat can diffuse out. This is was causes flushing and swollen. If you feet were exposed to heat in the legs (from the shower) then you would expect this transiently. This should not persist for more than a few hours. In general, swelling in the legs of a young person is because of inflammation until proven otherwise. For example, if you twist your ankle (achilles sprain), you would expect some swelling. This however, is normal accompanied by pain. It is also less common for both legs to be effected. Other cause of leg swelling can be: (a) heart failure or weak heart muscle (b) liver failure (c) kidney failure. In addition, blood clots in the legs can also cause the problem. As can varicose veins. The later conditions are serious and should be evaluated. See your primary care doctor at once.
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