Edema Specialist

Nellestein Vein Institute

Michael E. Nellestein, M.D.

Vein Specialist located in Saint Joseph, MO

If you have swollen ankles, it may be due to a vein problem called venous insufficiency. This type of swelling, known as edema, can sometimes extend to the leg and involve the foot. At Nellestein Vein Institute, vein specialist Dr. Michael Nellestein can evaluate your edema and determine if vein treatment can help resolve your discomfort. If you live in Saint Joseph, Missouri, and the greater Northwest Missouri region, call the office or use the online booking agent to make an appointment and have your leg swelling evaluated.

Edema Q & A

Why does edema occur?

Your body stores fluid in your blood vessels and the interstitial spaces outside of your cells. Swelling in your legs and ankles is due to the accumulation of excess fluid under your skin and in any excess spaces within the tissues.

If you have faulty veins in your legs, known as venous insufficiency, blood backs up and increases pressure, resulting in edema.


What is venous insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI, is diagnosed when your veins work improperly. The walls and valves in the veins malfunction, so blood can’t return to the heart from your legs, and instead it pools in the veins — resulting in swelling and varicosity.


What symptoms suggest edema is due to venous insufficiency?

Edema due to venous insufficiency is localized in the legs. If you have visible varicose or spider veins in addition to the swelling, it’s a good indication that venous insufficiency is the cause. But, not all varicose veins are visible at the surface of your skin. They may be deeper inside your leg and still cause the symptoms of swelling along with:

  • Chronic leg pain and achiness
  • Leg heaviness
  • Leg fatigue
  • Itching and cramping


You may notice swelling increases and becomes aggravated by heat as the day progresses.


How is edema evaluated?

Dr. Nellestein looks at your medical and family history to determine why you might be suffering from edema. You’re at greater risk of venous insufficiency if you are obese, pregnant, sedentary, a smoker, a woman, older than 50, or spend lots time either standing or sitting. He also does a thorough exam, including an ultrasound, which gives him a better idea of how your veins are working.


How is edema treated?

Regularly elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings can alleviate swelling. In most cases, Dr. Nellestein recommends treating the underlying vein insufficiency and not just the symptoms of swelling. Vein treatment may include sclerotherapy and minor surgery to address the veins causing the issue.

If you experience swelling in your ankles and lower legs, your veins may be to blame. Consult vein specialist Dr. Michael Nellestein to find relief. Call his office or use the online booking tool for a consultation.