Noticing an Indent in Leg Shin? Causes and Remedies Explained!

What if I told you, “Around 20% of people have dents (or indents) in their bodies?” If you’re one of them and you have an indent in leg shin for some time now, you should read this article further.

This dent has a formal name. In medical terms, it’s called “Pitting Edema.”

This condition can damage the veins in your leg and can even lead to scarring in bone. However, Pitting Edema can be effectively treated with certain medications. In addition, a few practices can prevent this from happening. 

Wanna know how?

Low protein levels reduce the blood’s oncotic pressure. This leads to the loss of fluids from the blood vessels to the interstitial tissues. As a result, the blood gets settled in one spot. 

Common Reasons Why You Have Indent in Your Leg Shin

Whether you notice an indent in your shin after injury or are surprised to see such a pit one morning, the reasons behind this condition are more or less similar. 

indent-in-leg-shin

The leading cause here is the accumulation of liquid in that part of the leg. Sometimes the reason for such a situation can be an accident or edema

But what’s the cause behind your problem? Check it out below: 

Shin Injury

Though it’s not that common, having an indent in the leg shin after accidents or injuries is severe. Any blow on the leg or shin will make your legs swollen with blood, and you will feel excruciating pain in that part. 

shin-injury

The blood-filled swollen part will likely have a dent with a simple push. But, of course, it goes without saying that the dent will come along with a nerve-breaking agony. 

Pitting Edema

Usually, the main issue that causes a dent in the leg is an Edema. In case you don’t know, Edema is where all the extra bodily fluid, instead of leaving the system through sweat or urine, accumulates in a specific part of the body.

When the edema takes over an area, that body part forms a pit with the slightest push. This is why this condition is called pitting edema.  

edema

Now let’s explore the reasons behind pitting edema.

Heart Valve Problems

Heart valve issues change the regular course of blood circulation in the body. As a result, your blood can get coagulated in any part of the body without any pressure. 

Protein Deficiency

Low protein levels reduce the blood’s Oncotic Pressure. This leads to the loss of fluids from the blood vessels to the interstitial tissues. As a result, the blood gets settled in one spot. 

DVT

DVT or deep venous thrombosis is a condition where a blood clot forms in the deeper veins of the body. This usually takes place in the legs. The blood clots can show noticeable dents.

dvt

Liver Diseases

Liver diseases or cirrhosis decrease the rate of blood flow through the liver. This, in turn, increases the pressure in the veins carrying the blood to the liver. The boosted blood flow creates pressure in the portal vein, causing swelling.

Kidney Failure

Let’s put this simply. The kidney produces albumin. The purpose of this albumin is to maintain the blood volume in the blood vessels. Precisely, it reduces the amount of fluid in the blood vessel. Unfortunately, problems in the kidney hamper albumin production. 

When there isn’t enough albumin (or the blood-controlling agent), fluid freely moves into the interstitial spaces, resulting in pitting edema. This usually happens in the lower part of the body. 

Apart from these, lung diseases, obesity, pregnancy, certain medications, and even the hot weather can cause pitting edema in your leg shin.

Simple Home Remedies for Condition

Indent in the shin with pain can either mean it’s edema or a superficial leg injury. 

Either case requires full medical attention. Unfortunately, you can’t hope to fix the indent entirely at home. However, there are some things you can do to get rid of the pain of the indent. If you follow these steps correctly, you will get relief from your aching legs. 

Let’s see what those home remedies are,

Soaking Legs in Salt-Water

This method will only work if your swollen leg results from an injury (no edema). 

You have to take a bucket full of lukewarm water and mix a significant amount of Epsom salt with it. After the solution is made, soak your swollen legs in this water for 15 to 20 minutes. The solution will help your muscles relax, eventually easing the swelling. 

You can go over this process in the bathtub. That will be much more convenient for you. 

While mending the swollen muscles of your legs, this home remedy will also give you instant relief from the pain. 

Apply Cold Compression

This approach, too, is appropriate for swollen legs from injury. While hot water can fix the swollen legs, cold compression can also give relief. 

Just take an ice-bag full of ice and gently keep it pressed against the leg muscles or shin. Hold the ice bag in this position for about 20-30 minutes, readjusting the position every now and then.

This process will numb down the swollen areas, giving you instant relief. However, the swollen part may become painful after putting the ice bag away. 

The reason? Blood gets flowing in that area. You can then again apply the cold compression there. But this is not a permanent solution. 

You can take help from this approach when your legs are hurting, but the treatment may take a while. 

Controlling Movement

Now comes the home remedies for pitting edema. When your legs are affected by edema, you can try moving the muscles of your legs and the shin muscle to fix the swelling. 

This movement of your legs will pump the extra fluid back to your heart, reducing the swelling in that part of the leg.

Elevate Your Legs

Your body doesn’t defy the laws of physics. If you hold your fluid-filled body part above the level of your heart, gravity will pull the liquid downwards. Practicing this exercise several times daily will reduce the swelling by draining the extra fluids.

Regular Massages Can Counter Indent

You can try a specific massage to heal the swelling in your leg. However, you can only do this if you don’t have much swelling or if the swelling is not that painful. In other words, adapt this approach when the indent is not too deep in your leg shin.

Just sit in a relaxed position. Now stroke the affected area toward your heart, starting from the ankle. Use firm pressure. But make sure that the pressure doesn’t feel painful. Reduce the pressure if it hurts. 

The pressure you put in your legs is likely to move the excess fluid toward your body system, fixing the pitting edema in your legs.

Wear Stockings/Sleeves/Gloves

If your edema keeps returning after getting apparently fixed, doctors recommend you wear stockings. Putting on tight stockings will prevent fluid from coming to the lower part of your body by putting pressure on your limbs. 

Imagine holding a pipe downwards and pressing the midpoint. Now, the water will not flow past your part on hold. The same thing happens when you wear stockings. 

Though these remedies may seem quite effective initially, they are not the ideal treatment. You can take the help of these methods to alleviate the pain till the doctor comes. But what will the doctor do to treat you? Find it out in the next point. 

Medical Treatment for Indent in Leg Shin

Medical treatment should be your last resort if you have an indent in your leg or shin. Usually, a doctor recommends the essential remedies I have already mentioned above. However, if these approaches don’t work out, then medical treatment becomes mandatory. 

Knowing about the medical procedures can help you choose the ideal treatment options. Check them out below.  

Venous Vascular Procedures

Venous vascular procedures are usually recommended in severe cases of extreme pitting edema. This surgery basically obstructs the path of the vein, stopping the blood flow from reaching the lower part of the body. Here’s how it’s done. 

venous-vascular

The process starts with imaging the affected area. Next, a physician inserts a catheter in the upper thigh and takes it through the vessel. The destination of the catheter is the point where the problem is. 

Once the catheter is in the ideal spot, it injects a special dye in that area. While the dye passes through the vein, the X-ray image tracks its flow. However, some patients may have allergic reactions to this dye. In that case, carbon dioxide is used instead. 

After the area has been successfully located, the surgeon will block the vein at that spot using a balloon catheter. This will stop blood from reaching the spot where excessive fluids are accumulated. 

At this point, the physician will elevate your legs, letting the gravity do the work of pushing the liquids back into the body. 

The doctor will remove the balloon once your legs return to normal. Now the surgeon may recommend wearing tight stockings and prescribing exercise or medicines. Following the doctor’s suggestions should save you from further problems. 

Consider Taking Diuretics

Diuretics are the ideal treatment if your edema comes from liver failure, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure. 

As you already know, liver failure, kidney diseases, and heart failure lead to water accumulation in different body parts (especially in the legs). 

diuretics

Diuretics (also known as water pills) help to eliminate the extra salts and water out of your body through pee. The flush out of excess water and salts eventually gets you rid of the edema. 

Your doctor should direct you on when and how to take these medicines. Usually, it is recommended to take diuretics in the morning. Many people think it’s a good idea to drink more and more water while taking diuretics. 

Well, it’s an entirely wrong concept. Your purpose here is to eliminate the extra fluids in your body. So if you supply excess fluid into your system, the medicine will just eliminate the water that was not your problem in the first place. 

This is why you should drink less than usual water while taking diuretics.  

Exercises Help

Though you can workout at home, don’t do anything unless your doctor says so. Your body condition may not be suitable for the exercise you opt for.

However, in most cases, it is safe to practice the following exercise.

  • Step 1- Point your toe downwards and pull your toe up to your knee. Make sure to adjust the ankle joint as much as you can. 
  • Step 2- Now, turn your foot inwards and then out to the side. Move the ankle joint without rotating the whole leg. 
  • Step 3- Repeat step 1 and step 2 for ten times a day. 
  • Step 4- After repeating the first two steps ten times daily, it’s time to work on the ankle. First, make a circle with your ankle. Then, move your ankle clockwise ten times and counter-clockwise again ten times. Don’t try to be quick. Rotate your ankles slowly to get the best result. 
  • Step 5- Once you are done with all the steps, try moving your ankle however you like. For example, try to draw other shapes with your ankle or just keep writing all the alphabet one by one. The goal is to keep your ankle moving. 
  • Step 6- If your body is in the right condition, the doctor may recommend you elevate your legs while laying down on your back. 

These exercises can lead you to a better health condition. However, your present physical situation may not allow you to adapt to these exercises. Your doctor can say the best. Don’t try to take the decision unless you are an expert surgeon yourself. 

My Last Two Words on the Topic

An indent in your shin has tons of dangerous potential complications IF you leave it untreated 

From scarring bone tissue to damaging varicose veins, pitting edema can heavily damage your legs. Even if this is not the case, the injury that got you this indent is likely to bring more severe and permanent issues such as infection in the skin tissues and fracture

Fortunately, in either case, you can hope to get released, and now you know how. Understanding and following what I have mentioned in this article can bring you relief from the suffering of an indent in the leg shin. 

So, try to maintain the appropriate treatment and eliminate the pain.

Dr. Afifa Amer

Dr. Afifa Amer

My name is Afifa Amer and I have done Doctor of Pharmacy. I am a registered retail pharmacist. I believe we should not stick to one specific job, so writing and educating others has always been my passion. I love to share content that improves health, fitness and well being. When I am not typing or dealing with prescriptions, I like to travel and read books.

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