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Cardio Exam

Leg Tenderness

July 1st, 2020


  • How to Assess

  • Palpate the lower limb, and especially the calves. Ask the patient whether any area is tender to touch.
  • Causes of Leg Tenderness

  • Vascular - deep venous thrombosis, superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Infection - cellulitis, lymphangitis, necrotising fasciitis
  • Musculoskeletal - trauma, arthritis, gout
  • Malignancy
  • Compartment syndrome (following crush injury, burns, haemorrhage, leg ischaemia)
  • Interpretation

  • Red, swollen, tender calfSuggestive of cellulitis or deep venous thrombosis
  • Tenderness and erythema tracking along the course of a superficial veinSuggestive of superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Pulselessness, pallor, paraesthesia, pain, poikilothermiaSigns of compartment syndrome
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