Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is swelling in feet normal after trauma to mid leg?"
I got into a motorcycle accident earlier this summer. I incurred a trauma injury to the leg. My lower leg was punctured by something and seemed okay at first then the whole lower left leg was black and blue so went to emergency room the following sunday july 10th... However, the doctor took xrays and stated that nothing was broken and appears normal. But, at the sight of the puncture there is a huge lump about the size of a golf ball and I have swelling of the feet and black and blue spots where the toes meet the top of the foot. There was no ultrasound or ct scan performed. I received a tetanus shot and cephalex that was all. Is this part of the natural healing process or should I go back to the doctor? It has been two weeks and the swelling in the feet with the black and blue spots still plagues me. I still have pain in the leg and when I walk.
This is likely a normal result after the trauma. That being said, you should be evaluated by your doctor a few weeks after the event to ensure normal healing. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care physician. Trauma can injure a number of structures in the leg. The x-ray (while not a perfect test) suggests there is no bone fracture. However there are many other structures like muscles and blood vessels that can be damaged. The fact that you have a black and blue leg suggests that there was damage to the small blood vessels -- this sounds like a bruise or as its medically known: an ecchymosis. The small blood vessels break and cause the blood to leak into the skin and cause the ecchymosis. There is no way to fix the small vessels -- they must heal on their own. The blood must slowly be removed by the body -- but often before it does gravity makes the ecchymosis move toward the foot. This means the black and blue move lower and the swelling moves lower. If you are having pain that persists, this may be a sign of muscle or ligament injury. If this is the case see your doctor more urgently. If it is just the color that is bugging you, this is likely normal. Again, please discuss this with your primary care doctor.