Large Painful Legs Is Not Necessarily Obesity – Could be Lipedema – Blame Your Parents

Large legs, with little pitting, is an abnormal accumulation of fat in the legs, often hereditary in nature and very often mis-diagnosed. The pain is treatable.

Am J Med Genet A. 2010 Apr;152A(4):970-6.
Lipedema: an inherited condition.
Child AH, Gordon KD, Sharpe P, Brice G, Ostergaard P, Jeffery S, Mortimer PS. abstract here

  • “bilateral and symmetrical ‘‘fatty’’ non-pitting swelling usually confined to the legs and hips”
  • “feet are typically spared, giving rise to an ‘‘inverse shouldering’’ effect at the ankles.”
  • tenderness and bruising common
  • worse with puberty
  • misdiagnosed as obesity – but will not disappear with dieting
  • Not lymphedema because does not pit much (make dents when pressed on)
  • study suggested autosomal dominant in mostly females. (You have it – 75% chance your daughter will have it
  • I find, there tends to be very tender spots where superficial nerves traveling with blood vessels get irritated – I inject them with 5% lidocaine- 7.5% dextrose (spinal lidocaine) and that gives relief for a while.
  • Support stockings help as well but need to be custom made – and will be hard to get on…

any comments?

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