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Swelling In Legs

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One of the new symptoms I forgot to mention to my rheumatologist is swelling in my legs in the morning. It has only happened twice but very recently.


I woke up one morning and felt swelling in my hips, thighs and knees. I have also been noticing slightly puffy ankles.


However, my pulm. appt. was the same day only about an hour after rheumatologist and my pulm. doc. ASKED ME if I had swelling in my legs. (I think rheumatologist called him and told him to ask) I was glad he did because I had forgotten to tell rheumatologist. But I forgot to ask him WHY he was asking.


What should I be worrying about?


Rheumy wants me off of ibuprofen because I told her how much I had to take and something to do with the large tissue floaties in my urine.


I know nobody here is a doctor and I will be calling them back but does anyone have a clue about the leg swelling and urine floaties? Could these symptoms be related to my kidneys? If so, how?




Take care,



Serena Justis

ISN Blogger

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Guest Sherrill

Hi Barefut,


I'm not a doctor either! But I do know that scleroderma can affect the kidneys. I know this because I have kidney failure and am on dialysis for it. Certain meds can also damage the kidneys if you take too many of them, but I don't know if ibuprofen is one of them.


I can't answer your question about the "urine floaties" as I have never heard of them. However, kidney problems can definitely give you swelling in various parts of your body, particularly the ankles and I guess the legs too. The swelling happens if the kidneys aren't doing their job properly, and the fluid they usually excrete becomes stored up in the tissues of the body. It's called fluid retention. Legs and ankles are affected in particular as they're the lowest part unless you're lying down, and water tends to run downhill!


If you're worried, ask one of the doctors if you could have kidney function blood tests. They're just another blood test, but if anything shows up, then that leads on to other tests.


Scleroderma renal crisis is a situation where your blood pressure goes very high. How is your blood pressure?


I hope this has helped a bit, and good luck, I hope you don't have any kidney issues.


Warm hugs,

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Hi Barefut,


I can only give you my experience with ibuprofen. I had to stop it, as I have high bloodpressure and it was pushing it up.

I asked the doctor why that happened and she told me that unlike some other drugs that are metabolised in your liver, she told me the ibuprofen was metabolised through your kidneys, now that could be incorrect information, but it is just what I was told.


I get swelling in my legs and ankles pretty much everyday. I tell my doctor who says its just water retention. and I am pretty sure it is due to me having high bloodpressure.

It reminds me of when I had pre-eclampsia in 2 of my pregnancies, it can get quite uncomfortable.


Sorry can't comment on the floaties though.




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Hi Barefut,

Well, as you know, we don't have any medical training at all, and this is an issue for your medical team. We can share bits and pieces, but nothing on earth can replace an in-person evaluation by a medical professional.

My husband has lung disease, and his lung doctors ask him about ankle swelling and examine his ankles at every visit. Lung problems can affect the heart and the reduced circulation can cause swelling.

As was already mentioned in this thread, kidney failure can cause swelling, too. Not to mention that scleroderma skin involvement typically starts as fluid retention in the affected area.

Also, many medications -- including prednisone -- can cause swelling of the legs and feet. Thus, we need to send you back to the doctor again. Sorry! sad.gif

To see the impressive list of nearly everything that can go wrong with the systemic types of scleroderma, many of which could cause fluid retention, see: Scleroderma Symptoms.

Often, just reducing salt in the diet (particularly hidden salt, as found in processed foods) and increasing walking and activity levels can get many cases of fluid retention under control.

I'm very glad that you've found some pain relief, and I really don't want to rain on your parade, as I know how precious even a few moments of relief can be! But most unfortunately, another thing to seriously discuss with your medical team is that prednisone is strongly associated with kidney failure in people with scleroderma, and with pneumonia (increasing the risk by 70%). Even low-dose steroids can cause irreversible loss of brain tissue in people with autoimmune disease. Thus it is strongly recommended to try to avoid corticosteroids (such as prednisone) in people with systemic scleroderma. See Steroid Warnings for Scleroderma..

It's a constant balancing act, isn't it? Please let us know what you find out.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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