About 20% of adults worldwide have experienced dents forming on their lower body at some point. This phenomenon is common due to many health issues that we may face at some point in our lives. The causes of dents signify or indicate that our health needs to be checked. Diseases that affect major organs like the liver, kidneys, lungs, or heart may cause denting in most people. If you get diagnosed with a particular ailment after visiting the hospital, the appropriate medication will put you in shape quickly.
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Sometime in the past, my friend joined an athletic team in my neighborhood. They had a rigorous practice procedure that involved morning cross-country runs and gym in the evening. He devoted himself, and sooner, his body responded. He started losing the excess fat from his body.
He also needed to follow a prescribed meal plan from the instructor. Then, after some days, he realized a dent in his shin. The dent was midway between his ankle and the knee of his left leg. He had no history of fractures, so he got a bit startled.
The dent was about half an inch deep and was not painful. We called the doctor, who asked him a few questions and booked an appointment to run some tests and an x-ray.
He took the tests, and the doctor came up with a diagnosis.
We later learned that the dent resulted from bone resorption because of a problem with his calcium levels. He became a bit relieved because, with calcium supplements, he could rectify the condition eventually.
Reasons why you might have a dent in shin with no pain
Here are some possible reasons you have a dent in your shin that isn’t causing you pain:
The thyroid gland in our bodies produces the parathyroid hormone. When one of these glands gets overreactive, they cause a condition known as hyperthyroidism in human beings.
This condition leads to the production of excess parathyroid hormone.
The parathyroid hormone in excess amounts leads to the production of excessive calcium ions in our bodies.
When we have a lot of calcium, as my friend experienced, it contributes to the development of kidney stones, bone thinning, and other health-related complications.
One of the symptoms of kidney stones is the development of a dent on your shin. This dent results from edema, which technically refers to excess fluids in affected areas.
So if you notice a dent on your shin with no pain, it might be a sign of hyperthyroidism. It would help if you got checked by your doctor to get the desired treatment.
2. Pitting Edema
Pitting edema occurs when you experience swelling in your lower body, like feet, legs, or ankles, and when you press them, a pit/dent forms.
When you get a dent on your shin that seems not painful, it might be pitting edema.
The fluid accumulating on your lower body parts will be responsible for the dents. In addition, a localized health problem in specific body regions causes the veins to suffer and result in pitting edema.
If you cannot find a dent or pit with edema, this will likely signify problems in your lymphatic or thyroid system.
You may also experience the following symptoms when experiencing pitting edema.
- Chest pain
- Severe cough
- Shortness of breath
- Heart murmur
- Low blood protein levels
- General body weakness
Pitting edema may signify the following health conditions
Conditions that may cause edema include high blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, psoriatic disorder, and deep venous thrombosis.
1. High blood pressure
If blood circulation meets resistance when transporting blood, the blood pressure increases. High blood pressure comes to counter the resistance the blood might be experiencing while moving to various body organs.
When the pressure rises very high, it may disrupt how the body functions, including fluid transportation in the body.
When fluids accumulate in various organs, including the shin, pitting edema may result.
So, if you have a dent in your shin, it might be time to check your blood pressure. High blood pressure may be a symptom of kidney disease as well.
Other symptoms associated with high blood pressure include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Nose bleeds
- Bloody urine
2. Liver Disease
The liver, as an organ, may suffer from various diseases. For example, when you have fatty liver disease, you may experience swelling in the legs and ankles, including the shin.
This swelling will result in painless dents forming on your shin. So, consider visiting your doctor and having tests to determine the course of your shin dent.
Most alcoholics develop fatty liver disease in their lifespan. So if you drink alcohol, this might be a symptom of fatty liver disease.
You may experience the following symptoms, too, with this condition:
3. Kidney Failure
Our two kidneys near our lower back, each located on either side of our spine, may cause edema if they fail. These organs detoxify our bodies by sending toxins to the bladder, passing them through our urine.
If these organs malfunction or even one fails, the fluid transporting toxins to the bladder may accumulate in our lower body instead.
These fluids include excess water released as water waste. The fluid accumulation results in dent-forming edema on our lower body, including the shin.
If you see a painless dent on your shin, you might be a patient with kidney failure. Other symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Low urine formation
- Chest pain
- In extreme circumstances, the patient may go into a Coma
4. Congestive Heart Failure
Our heart depends on its muscles to pump blood into our body effectively. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) results when fluid builds up within the heart-rendering the heart muscles ineffective in pumping blood.
Like the fluids build up in the heart, it tends to build up in other body parts, including the shin. So the dent you see forming on your shin may result from a sick heart.
The fluids will compose blood, water, and other substances transported by the circulatory system.
Patients with CHF may also present the following symptoms.
- Appetite loss
- Difficulty in breathing
- Excessive sweating
5. Deep Venous Thrombosis
These deep clots form in veins primarily found in our thighs or lower leg. When the clots develop, they cause an obstruction that prevents blood and fluids from flowing.
When the blood and fluids fail to flow, they end up causing pitting edema in our legs, including the shin. So, the dent you might be seeing could indicate the development of deep vein thrombosis in your lower body veins.
This disease poses a significant risk to life because it may be fatal if the clot travels to the heart, lungs, or other major organs.
Consider visiting your doctor. If you receive a DVT diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe blood-thinning medications like Warfarin or heparin.
Patients with deep vein thrombosis may present the following symptoms too:
- Cramping pain in the affected area
- Severe feet or ankle pain
- Excess warmth in the affected area
- Bluish, reddish, or pale color in the affected area may occur.
The above health conditions form the primary causes of pitting edema, which results in a dent in your shin. Other causes include:
- Problems with your heart valves
- Low protein levels in the blood
- Severe lung disease
- Administration of medicinal intravenous fluids in patients
- Side effects of other medications
What factors contribute to the development of this condition?
While pitting edema causes dents to form on your shin, maybe disease-related, other risks arise from lifestyle and diet factors.
The following diet and lifestyle behaviors may lead to pitting edema scenarios:
- Immobility, especially when you turn out fully dependent on others, especially when sick, may cause edema.
- A situation when you have multiple pregnancies.
- Consuming a high salt level diet.
- You may get spitting edema after lymph node surgery.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle.
How do you get a pitting edema diagnosis?
Since this condition doesn’t get treated as a disease by itself, you must get a complete evaluation to determine its cause.
Most of the time, you get referred to a vein specialist or a cardiologist. These specialists help find the cause of your shin denting or other feet or lower body swelling.
They get to perform blood work, X-rays, or echocardiograms after physically searching for other body swellings. If you haven’t had this swelling before and the formation of a shin dent, you should see your doctor for the above examination.
When a cause gets determined, you get appropriate medication or surgery to correct the cause.
Comparing life-threatening and less life-threatening courses to forming a dent on your shin
The life-threatening courses require emergency medical attention compared to the less life-threatening causes.
|Life-threatening courses||Less life-threatening courses|
|Kidney failure||Liver disease|
|Deep vein thrombosis||High blood pressure|
|Congestive heart failure||Low blood-protein levels|
|Severe lung disease||Pregnancy|
|Intravenous fluid administration|
|Medication side effects|
Can your bones dent?
Yes, it may feel like a dent when your bones bend due to low calcium levels.
What does pitting edema indicate?
This condition indicates a problem in your major organs or underlying health conditions that prevent fluids from getting transported.
What causes dents in the legs?
Dents in the legs result from thyroid or other health issues that cause pitting edema.
Why do I have dents in my thighs?
The dents may indicate a condition known as deep vein thrombosis. You should see a doctor to help rule out other courses too.
We have seen many courses of dents on our shins. If you didn’t know, the dents might signify various health issues.
It can be due to calcium levels like my friend’s and other diseases as well. You should see your doctor, especially since some causes may need emergency medical attention.