Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Can Diabetes Cause Swollen Feet And Ankles

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When Should I See My Health Care Provider About Foot Problems

8 Common Causes of Swollen Ankles, Is a Dr. Visit NEEDED?
  • a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not start to heal after a few days
  • skin on your foot that becomes red, warm, or painfulsigns of a possible infection
  • a callus with dried blood inside of it,which often can be the first sign of a wound under the callus
  • a foot infection that becomes black and smellysigns you might have gangrene

Ask your provider to refer you to a foot doctor, or podiatrist, if needed.

Treatment For Swollen Feet And Ankles From Diabetes

When youre experiencing swollen feet or ankles from diabetes, you might want to try some at-home remedies. Here are some solutions:

  • Use compression socks. Compression socks will help circulate blood flow in your legs, feet, and ankles, which will reduce any swelling. You can purchase compression socks at a pharmacy, medical supply store, or an online retailer.
  • Elevate your feet. Putting your feet higher than your heart will help relieve the swelling. If you arent able to prop your foot up above heart level, try using an ottoman to slightly elevate it.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising most days of the week for at least 30 minutes is a great way to reduce swelling and improve blood circulation. Its also a positive solution for managing weight and lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Lose weight. Losing weight, if recommended by a physician, can help reduce swelling and make it easier to maintain normal blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is at a normal range, poor circulation is less likely to occur.
  • Limit salt. Salty foods can make swelling worse. Speak to your doctor to see how much salt you can consume per day.
  • Increase movement. Try to get movement in throughout the day, especially if youre working a desk job. Aim to stand up and move around at least once per hour to get blood flowing.

What Does It Mean If Your Feet And Ankles Are Swollen

The abnormal buildup of fluid in the body is called edema. Edema is commonly seen in the feet and ankles, because of the effect of gravity, swelling is particularly noticeable in these locations. Common causes of edema are prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, pregnancy, being overweight, and increase in age.

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Diabetes: Why Are My Ankles Swelling

If youre suffering from diabetes, you may also be experiencing swollen legs and ankles. It is due to fluid retention in the affected parts.

This fluid retention is the result of fluid accumulation in your veins, which often occurs because of poor blood circulation. Edema can occur anywhere on the body but is most prominent in the extremities, particularly in the feet and ankles, where gravity causes pooling and requires healthy circulation to move the blood.

Fortunately, you can manage swollen ankles from diabetes and even prevent it altogether by improving your lifestyle choices. There are also some medical and therapeutic procedures that can help in the treatment and prevention of swelling caused by diabetes.

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Try To Lose Some Weight

Diabetic foot problems, pain, ulcer, infection and diabetic foot treatment

The more you weigh, the more pressure that your lower extremities are under. To help treat swollen feet, try to get to a healthy weight and maintain it. While it can seem overwhelming, making small healthy changes to your everyday routine can lead to big differences. Maintaining a healthy weight will make diabetes management easier, lower your risk of complications, and help you retain more stable blood sugar levels.

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Relief For Swollen Legs

If youre experiencing swelling in the legs and feet this summer, you may find that it is not only embarrassing but uncomfortable and impractical. Leg swelling or edema affects many older adults due to a variety of reasons. Luckily there is relief for patients who suffer from vascular conditions affecting the legs and feet.

Heart Vascular and Leg of Bakersfield, CA can help to identify and treat symptoms of vascular conditions.

What are some of the causes of foot and leg swelling?

Lifestyle Factors:

  • Sitting or Standing Too Long: A common reason for leg swelling is prolonged sitting or standing. Heat can also make the swelling worse.
  • Obesity: Being overweight can decrease blood circulation, causing fluid to build up in the legs, ankles, & feet.
  • Diet: A diet with excessive salt can increase swelling.


  • Certain medications such as those containing steroids, hormones, antidepressants and anti-inflammatory drugs can cause leg, foot & ankle swelling.

Peripheral Arterial Disease:

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease is a condition in which the arteries that carry blood to the arms or legs become narrowed or clogged, interfering with normal flow of the blood.

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Caring For Adiabetic Foot

Prevention, as it is said, is better than cure. For diabetic patients, there are a few care guidelines to prevent foot problems. These include

  • Checking your feet daily and look out for blisters and injuries
  • Washing your feet regularly
  • Wearing the right kind of socks and shoes
  • Elevating and wiggling your feet to increase blood flow
  • Regular professional examinations and relevant tests
  • Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels

Patients diagnosed with diabetes need regular podiatric consults to examine the condition of their feet.

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Other Common Causes Of Ankle Swelling

Fluid retention from diabetes can also result from the following underlying conditions that commonly occur with the disease, especially if poorly controlled.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which one or more chambers of your heart become less effective at pumping blood. This causes blood to back up in the legs, feet, arms, and other extremities.

Congestive heart failure can also cause swelling in the abdomen and fluid accumulation in the lungs , resulting in shortness of breath.

Kidney disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and affects 20% to 40%¹ of people with diabetes. Excessive blood glucose affects the delicate blood vessels and filtering system in the kidneys, which reduces their effectiveness in removing excess fluid and waste from the body.

Since the kidneys play a central role in regulating fluids in the body, kidney disease causes fluid retention, mostly in the arms, legs, and lungs. It can also cause other problems such as high blood pressure, excessive potassium levels, damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eyes , and foot sores, among others.

Damage to the veins

High blood sugar levels can weaken veins and the one-way valves in them. Obesity-associated with diabetes also causes additional strain on veins deep inside the body, leading to a condition known as venous insufficiency.

Inadequate lymphatic system

Cirrhosis and liver damage

Get Rid Of Your Extra Weight

What Causes Ankles & Feet Swelling | Diagnosis & Treatment

Obesity is a leading risk factor of diabetes. If you get rid of your extra weight, you will not only bring down your risk of chronic complications like heart disease but also reduce the pressure on your legs and joints. It will keep your blood sugar levels stable and you will be less likely to suffer damage to your blood vessels.

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What Causes Edema Among People With Diabetes

Diabetes itself is not the root cause of inflammation in the feet and legs. The problem occurs when diabetes is not managed properly, and blood sugar becomes elevated for prolonged periods. When sugar is allowed to accumulate in the blood, it can damage the lining of smaller blood vessels in certain parts of the body, including the lower extremities. These damaged vessels make it impossible for the body to circulate blood properly. This poor circulation can cause fluid to get trapped in the legs, ankles, and feet, resulting in uncomfortable inflammation known as edema.

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What Are Signs Of Diabetic Feet

Proper foot care is important for people with diabetes. Foot care includes washing your feet daily, wearing properly fitted socks and shoes, and trimming toenails straight across. Daily monitoring of your feet can help detect any changes. Some signs of foot complications to look for include:

  • Swelling and puffiness in the feet

  • Loss of sensation, or feeling, in the toes, feet, and legs

  • A tingling, prickly feeling in your feet

  • Any cuts, sores, or blisters on your feet that will not heal

  • Coloring changes in the skin of the feet

  • Feet that are excessively dry, peeling, or cracking

  • Corns and calluses

  • Fungal infections

  • Ingrown or thickened toenails

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Maintain A Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to prevent a long line of health issues. Obesity has been scientifically linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Perhaps that is what has been the cause in your case. But obesity can not only cause, but it can also worsen the symptoms of these health issues.

In diabetes, being overweight can cause more significant joint pain, increased leg swelling, dangerously high blood sugar levels, etc. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can prevent many of these complications and generally improve your condition. It will be easier for your body to maintain normal blood sugar levels, thus preventing further damage to your blood vessels, which ultimately contributes to diabetes feet swelling and poor blood flow.

One of the easiest ways to achieve a healthy weight is to keep an eye on your diet-practice portion control by filling half of your plate with veggies. Next, fill at least one-fourth of the plate with protein and the rest of the plate with healthy carbs. Download a calorie tracking app to track your daily calorie intake. Make sure that you drink enough water and, most importantly, be physically active.

Why Do Swollen Legs Occur With Diabetes

Managing complications of the diabetic foot

Over time, diabetes can damage the blood vessels because it causes high levels of blood sugar to accumulate without the cells properly absorbing it. As blood vessels become increasingly damaged throughout life with poorly managed diabetes, circulation becomes less efficient, causing the vessels to grow increasingly damaged. Additionally, high blood sugar levels makes fighting infection more difficult because bacteria thrives on sugar. Its a vicious cycle, one that often lends itself to leg swelling. Diabetes can lead to other things that cause leg swelling, such as:

  • Poor circulation
  • Heart problems like arrhythmias, palpitations or heart disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Side effects of certain medications

Swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles is also referred to as an edema. If an injury to one of the lower extremities occurs, it can take longer to heal because of the poor circulation. An individual with poor circulation due to diabetes may not be aware of an injury on their foot, ankle or leg because they lack feeling. Not addressing the wound can cause fluid to build up as the body tries to inefficiently heal itself.

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What Are Swollen Feet

The medical term for swelling from excess fluid in your body is edema. When your feet swell, it’s called peripheral edema, and it can make them feel heavy and achy.

Your skin may look shiny, and if you press it, the indentation may remain, which is called pitting. If you have a small cut or sore on your swollen feet, some of the excess fluid may ooze from it.

What To Do About Painful Or Uncomfortable Swelling In Diabetic Feet

It can be disconcerting to look down at your feet and ankles and almost wonder if they are truly yours!

They may look swollen or puffy, and the skin may look stretched and shiny. You might even see some pitting in the swollen area.

This swelling in the lower extremities, also known as peripheral edema, can be an uncomfortable condition. It may even interfere with your ease of movement and bring on other detrimental symptoms as well.

Edema can be especially concerning to those who live with diabetes. It is often related to conditions that can slow and impede wound healing, and the presence of swelling itself can also significantly interfere with this process. If you have diabetes, you ideally want to keep swelling in the feet and ankles to a minimum.

To best do so, it helps to understand just what is going on when your feet and ankles swell up.

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How Is Diabetes Related To Ankle Swelling

Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by the bodys inability to regulate and utilize circulating blood sugar. This can either be from an inability to produce enough insulin or from poor blood sugar regulation due to your bodys resistance to the available insulin .

In both cases, diabetes results in abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood, which damages the lining of small blood vessels. Damage to vessels such as capillaries and veins results in poor circulation. It leads to edema and, on rare occasions, can also cause leakage into the surrounding tissue.

Ankle swelling, therefore, is a result of the damage that high blood sugar does to your circulatory system. This will eventually lead to cardiovascular and kidney issues, which also cause edema and swollen feet and ankles.

This problem is not exclusive to diabetics alone. Even healthy individuals can experience swollen ankles and feet after long periods of inactivity, wearing tight clothing, hormonal changes, excessive salt intake, or being overweight.

When you suffer from diabetes, however, the effect of these factors could be exacerbated.

What Can Lead To Leg Swelling

What Causes Right Ankle Edema?

For any diabetic patient, it is a must to consult a doctor in case you notice any changes in the body. A patient whos been living with diabetes for several years needs to be extra careful because this disease comes with so many attached risks.

If you are diabetic and have noticed some leg swelling recently, the following could be a few reasons for it.

  • The main reason for leg swelling in diabetes is peripheral edema. Fluids collect in the feet, ankles and leg and this condition can become quite severe if left untreated. A consultation with a doctor is a must.
  • Sometimes, a diabetic may suffer from diabetic neuropathy. This is a condition that leads to numbness in legs and feet. As a result, the diabetic may not be able to feel an injury, maybe something even as severe as a sprain or a fracture and continue to use the limb. But the swelling caused by the injury is what will raise concern, which is why a consultation with the doctor becomes very important.
  • Diabetics have low immunity towards infections and your swelling could very well be a sign of an infection in the leg. Further signs that you may have an infection can be mild fever and redness along with the swelling.
  • Sometimes a high blood pressure can also result in leg swelling as fluids begin to build up within the tissues of the body. These are symptoms of a congestive heart failure and if you also feel like you have trouble breathing and are fatigued, you should rush to the nearest hospital.
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    Diabetic Foot Care Tips

    Preventing foot problems is essential for people who have diabetes. Keeping feet healthy is critical, and a person should be vigilant about foot hygiene. An individual can take the following steps:

    • Check the feet each day: Examine the feet daily or ask someone to check for any changes or injuries.
    • Wash the feet daily: Keep the feet clean to prevent infections.
    • Wear supportive shoes and socks: Protect the feet in socks and shoes at all times. A podiatrist may recommend special shoes to help prevent deformities. Do not apply socks so tightly that they restrict blood flow.
    • Promote blood flow to the feet: Put the feet up when sitting, wiggle the toes periodically, and get enough exercise. These actions help promote healthy blood flow to the feet.
    • Trim nails carefully: Trim toenails straight across and keep them short. Rounded nails can grow inward, leading to infection.
    • Care for corns and bunions: Treat corns and bunions carefully. Never shave corns, as this increases the risk of infection.
    • Protect feet from extreme temperatures: Exposure to extreme hot and cold can damage the feet of people with diabetes.
    • Receive regular examinations on the feet: Regular examinations by a doctor are key to preventing infections, amputations, and severe deformities.
    • Control blood sugar: Uncontrolled blood sugars increase the risk of podiatric complications from diabetes.
    • Avoid smoking: Smoking adversely affects blood flow to the tissues, making foot problems worse in people with diabetes.

    Who Might Have Problems With Diabetes

    Foot problems often occur in people with diabetes, especially among those who have:

    • Nerve damage or poor blood flow in the feet.
    • Trouble managing blood glucose levels over long periods, including frequent episodes of hyperglycemia .
    • A BMI of more than 25 .
    • Had diabetes for a long time.
    • High blood pressure or high cholesterol.

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    Diabetes And Swollen Ankles

    Besides acute injury to the ankle, other causes of ankle swelling may include sensory autonomic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes. Caroline Apovian, MD, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Womens Hospital, said that this would cause more gradual foot swelling. However, the involvement starts with neuropathy in the toes, which works its way up to the feet and lower extremities.

    Charcot foot, a serious bone deformity condition associated with diabetes, can also lead to inflammation and swelling around the joints. Charcot foot can develop in people with neuropathy. Early symptoms are redness, swelling, and warm skin on the affected area.

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