Leg Tenderness



    • 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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