Milk Leg, Or Phlegmasia Dolens, an obstruction of the veins and lymphatics, causing a painful, non-cedematous swelling in one or both lower extremities. It is most common in women after parturition, but it sometimes occurs in unmarried women, and sometimes in males. In the case of lying-in women it usually commences about a week or ten days after delivery, but may take place immediately after labor, or at any time during the next five or six weeks. Any great drain upon the system is liable to be followed by rapid absorption, by which morbific matter contained in the uterus may be taken into the contiguous veins. The pathology consists in inflammation and obstruction of the iliac and femoral veins. The symptoms attending the condition are fever, headache, thirst, nausea, and pain, especially in the lower abdominal and pelvic regions, attended by extreme prostration. The attack may commence with a chill, and within 24 or 36 hours the foot or lower part of the leg may begin to swell, the process extending upward. The acute stage lasts about two or three weeks, and after recovery many deep veins remain obliterated, while the more superficial ones become enlarged and tortuous. The limbs usually remain useless for many months, and often never recover their former condition.
As the disease is attended with feebleness, the application of leeches and other forms of bloodletting are generally inadmissible. The most rational treatment is the administration of tonics and diffusive stimulants, combined with alkaline medicines, a bland and nourishing diet (wine and eggs, beef tea, &c), with the external application of liniments and emollient and alkaline applications, such as soap liniment, bran poultice, and solution of bicarbonate of soda or ammonia.