Unilateral leg swelling


  • Definition: existence of the excess fluid in the lower extremity resulting in swelling of the feet and extending upward
    • Further classified as pitting (depress-able) and non-pitting

Causes of pedal edema

Mechanisms of Pedal Edema
  • Increased hydrostatic pressure
  • Decreased oncotic pressure
  • Increased capillary permeability
  • Lymphatic obstruction

Clinical Features

Pitting pedal edema
  • Unilateral leg swelling

Differential Diagnosis

Unilateral leg swelling

Differential Diagnosis of Pedal Edema



  • Treatment is based on addressing underlying disease process
  • Idiopathic edema is a diagnosis of exclusion. Other disease process, including heart failure, cirrhosis, acute renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, chronic venous insufficiency, and medication induced edema must first be considered.[1]
    • Idiopathic pedal edema need not to be treated with diuretics


  • If no respiratory symptoms, most patients may be safely discharged home
    • Patients should be followed up in medical clinic for further investigation and care

See Also

External Links


  1. Kay A, Davis CL. Idiopathic Edema. American Journal of Kidney Disease. 1999; 34(3): 405-408.