A popliteal aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel (artery) behind your knee. The bulge occurs in a weak spot in the artery. It may occur in one or both legs.
Blood clots can form in this type of aneurysm and block blood flow in your leg. A small aneurysm may not need surgery, although your doctor will watch it closely.
Having a popliteal aneurysm means you may also have a higher risk of heart disease. There are many things you can do to improve your heart health. Doing these things may also prevent more damage to your blood vessels.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Do not smoke. Smoking can damage blood vessels. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Manage blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle along with medicines may help you lower your blood pressure.
- Manage cholesterol to help keep your blood vessels healthy. A healthy lifestyle along with medicines may help you manage cholesterol.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. Limit sodium, alcohol, and sweets.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Lose weight if you need to.
- Ask your doctor what type and level of activity is safe for you. If your doctor recommends it, get regular exercise. Walking is a good choice. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk every day. Try for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. You also may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.
- Manage other health problems. If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drug use, talk to your doctor.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have sudden pain in your leg or foot.
- Your leg or foot is cool or pale or changes color.
- You have tingling or numbness in your foot.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.
Current as of: December 19, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Jeffrey J. Gilbertson MD - Vascular Surgery