Pitting oedema post exercise

Patient

Q: When I go on brisk walks with a friend of mine, (she is very fit, I am not), my legs are quite painful the entire time. When I get home (about 3.3 miles in 45 min) my legs and hands are swollen. In fact, I get deep pitting edema in my legs. It goes away upon rest, and I don't often have problems with swelling otherwise. Might might be causing the pain & swelling?

Doctor

A:   Deep pitting oedema post exercise may be a sign that your heart is not pumping blood effectively to the body tissues. With your past medical history of hypertension and hypothyroidism, I would recommend attending your family doctor for detailed history and physical examination. He may refer you for an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart that allows visualization of the heart structure, heart valves and measurement of the hearts pumping ability. He may also refer you to a cardiologist if any abnormalities are detected on echo.

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