Cellulitis could be the cause of red and swollen leg. Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection and the affected skin appears swollen and red and is typically painful and warm to the touch.
Cellulitis usually affects the skin on the lower legs, but it can occur in the face, arms and other areas. It occurs when a crack or break in your skin allows bacteria to enter. In addition to red and swollen, there are some other symptoms like tenderness, pain, warmth, fever, red spots, blisters and skin dimpling.
Cellulitis treatment usually includes a prescription oral antibiotic. Within three days of starting an antibiotic, let your doctor know whether the infection is responding to treatment. You'll need to take the antibiotic for as long as your doctor directs, usually five to 10 days but possibly as long as 14 days.
In most cases, signs and symptoms of cellulitis disappear after a few days. Signs and symptoms don't respond to oral antibiotics and show some signs of extension or you have a fever, you may need to be hospitalized and receive antibiotics through your veins.
Usually, doctors prescribe a drug that's effective against both streptococci and staphylococci. It's important that you take the medication as directed and finish the entire course of medication, even after you feel better.
Your doctor also might recommend elevating the affected area, which may speed recovery.
It also could be deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms.
Deep vein thrombosis signs and symptoms can include:
1. Swelling in the affected leg. Rarely, there's swelling in both legs.
2. The pain starts in your calf and feel like cramping or soreness.
3. Red or discolored skin on the leg.
4. A feeling of warmth in the affected leg.
In some cases, deep vein thrombosis can occur without noticeable symptoms.
Deep vein thrombosis is most commonly treated with anticoagulants, also called blood thinners. These drugs, which can be injected or taken as pills, decrease your blood's ability to clot.
Clot busters is another choice. If you have a more serious type of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, or if other medications aren't working, your doctor might prescribe drugs that break up clots quickly, called clot busters or thrombolytics.
If you can't take medicines to thin your blood, you might have a filter inserted into a large vein — the vena cava — in your abdomen. A vena cava filter prevents clots that break loose from lodging in your lungs.
To help prevent swelling associated with deep vein thrombosis, compression stockings should be worn on your legs from your feet to about the level of your knees.