Limb swelling

Also known as: Swelling in limb, Edema, localized

Swelling is an increase in the size or a change in the shape of an area of the body. Swelling can be caused by collection of body fluid, tissue growth, or abnormal movement or position of tissue.

Body fluid can collect in different tissue spaces of the body (localized) or can affect the whole body (generalized). Causes of localized swelling include:

  • Injury to a specific body area.
  • Bruising (hematoma) from an injury is caused by tears in the small blood vessels under the skin.
  • Swelling can affect just one area or may involve large sections of the body, such as swelling that occurs following a motor vehicle accident.
  • Infection, which can occur in a joint or under the skin.
  • Burns, which can cause swelling at the site of the burn or in a larger area around the burn.
  • Inflammation that occurs when tissue is irritated by overuse or repeated motion.
  • Insect bites or stings.
  • Other causes, such as swelling related to a sac-shaped structure with clear fluid, blood, or pus (cyst) or a swollen gland, such as a salivary gland.
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