When To Reach Out To A Doctor
If your swelling is new, worsening, or generalized, contact your doctor. They can diagnose your condition and determine which home remedies may be right for you.
Swelling in a person with diabetes may result from a condition associated with diabetes, such as obesity, venous insufficiency, and heart failure.
You should also see a doctor for swelling that only occurs on one side of your body. This could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that develops in one or more of the deep veins in your leg. This condition can cause pain, swelling, or no symptoms at all.
Also, make a point to check your feet regularly for wounds to avoid infections. If you have any sores, ulcers, or blisters that dont heal, contact a doctor.
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.
Get Away From The Couch
And last but not least important is your overall physical activity. Lets say that you have gotten up the couch and done your 30 minutes of daily exercise. It would be wrong to spend the rest of the day sitting down. Sitting down for prolonged periods of time is what is making your swelling and pain worse in the first place.
To ensure good blood circulation, make sure that you get up every hour and take a short walk. Maybe you walk up and down the stairs a couple of times. Or maybe you will be doing a few stretches. Whatever it is, as long as it keeps you moving is a great choice.
The good idea is to invest in a smartwatch that comes with reminders to keep you away from sitting too long. And when you do move around the house, do wear a good diabetic slipper. These slippers are specially designed to reduce the risk of skin injuries in diabetic patients.
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Peripheral Neuropathy And Diabetes
Diabetic foot pain is mainly due to a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Approximately 50% of people who have type 2 diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy, which happens when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the nerves in the legs and the feet.
If you are frequently feeling foot pain, your type of neuropathy may be sensory, where even the slightest touch can cause overwhelming pain. The reaction is not proportional to the stimulus, because the nerves are overly sensitive.
Another type of peripheral neuropathy is motor neuropathy, wherein the nerves that connect to the muscles are weakened and therefore hurt. As a result, it may be a challenge to balance yourself with weakened legs and feet. This imbalance may lead to the development of corns, calluses, cuts, scrapes, and swelling.
For diabetics with motor neuropathy, customized orthotics may help address the balance issues and prevent the development of other foot issues. Its important that you keep your muscles in use so that your legs and feet stay strong.
Use Compression Socks For Swollen Feet
Compression socks and stockings are made to boost blood circulation from the lower limbs back to the heart. They can significantly help reduce foot, ankle, and leg swelling. However, if you have diabetes, and especially if you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, you should ask for your doctors advice before wearing compression socks. In some cases, they could do more harm than good. Read more: should diabetics wear compression socks?
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Check Your Feet Every Day
You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.
Look for problems such as
- cuts, sores, or red spots
- swelling or fluid-filled blisters
- ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
- corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
- plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
If you have certain foot problems that make it more likely you will develop a sore on your foot, your doctor may recommend taking the temperature of the skin on different parts of your feet. A hot spot can be the first sign that a blister or an ulcer is starting.
Cover a blister, cut, or sore with a bandage. Smooth corns and calluses as explained below.
Injury & Trauma Risk Factors
Neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes can result from injury or trauma. However, a more rare form of diabetes called “pancreatic diabetes occurs when injury or surgical removal of the pancreas occurs. Since insulin is made in the pancreas, the lack of a functioning pancreas leads to insulin deficiency and diabetes.
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Treatment For Swollen Ankles
Swelling caused by edema will usually go away on its own once you treat the underlying causes. However, severe edema may require medical intervention to get rid of excess fluid.
One treatment is a type of medication called diuretics. Diuretics such as Furosemide help the kidneys form urine and thus get rid of excess water. If the swelling is due to a blood clot obstructing blood flow, doctors may administer blood thinners or perform minor surgery to get rid of the clot.
Other types of treatment to target allergies, hormonal imbalance, infection, or inflammation can help treat the underlying cause of edema.
What Causes Swelling In The Legs Feet And Ankles
Leaving diabetes untreated should be avoided because of all of the complications that come with it. One of the complications of untreated diabetes is edema in the feet. Because of the inability of the blood to circulate properly, the body retains fluid. This happens more commonly in some places than others.
Such examples are the feet and arms. Peripheral edema can also be a symptom of kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure, venous insufficiency, and infection, among other health issues. Gestational diabetes, which is diabetes during pregnancy, is another common cause of leg swelling.
Leg swelling is a common foot problem among diabetics. Any diabetic patient should learn about proper foot care. They also need to be instructed on how to notice a potentially swollen foot and what to do about it. Sometimes, the edema can help diagnose sprains and ankle injuries that would otherwise go unnoticed because of the possible peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is the most common complication of diabetes. It represents nerve damage that occurs due to severely high blood sugar levels during diabetes.
It causes pain, loss of sensation, and numbness, which would explain why the ankle injury would go unnoticed. But, because of the present swelling, the patient can ask for help, which will lead to the doctor diagnosing the issue.
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Stay Hydrated To Reduce Swelling
Drinking more water when your body is swelling because of the accumulation of excess fluid might sound counterintuitive, but its not. The more water your drink, the more liquid you expel with urines. In other words, the more water you drink, the less you retain. You should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
Note: Some causes of edema related to heart or liver problems may need a water restriction instead. Ask for your doctors advice before increasing your water intake.
Diabetic Foot Care Solutions For Swollen Feet
Our podiatrists will examine your feet and recommend certain medications to treat swollen feet, depending on the cause of the edema. They can treat it with drugs that help remove excess fluid out of the body through urine. The podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct blocked blood vessels or valves.
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Give Yourself An Epsom Soak
Epsom salt has been shown to help relieve swelling-associated pain and reduce inflammation in the body. For best results, put a sufficient amount of Epsom salt in a foot bath of cool water. If you have diabetic neuropathy in your feet, make sure that you double check the water temperature to avoid exposure to extreme temperature. Proceed to soak your feet and ankles for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Conditions With Similar Symptoms
In considering the symptoms of high blood glucose only, there are only a few conditions with similar symptoms. Urinary tract infections in women may be associated with frequent urination, but these types of infections usually also result in pain with urination and thirst. A more rare condition called diabetes insipidus results when a hormone from the pituitary gland called vasopressin is absent. Without vasopressin, one can also get frequent urination and thirst similar to what is seen with high blood glucose from diabetes mellitus . The combination of thirst, frequent urination and weight loss is uncommon except with diabetes .
For low blood glucose , which may be common in patients with type 1 diabetes who are striving for near-normal blood sugar levels, there are a variety of symptoms that can be similar to other conditions. Anxiety and hyperthyroidism are seen when adrenalin levels rise in response to the hypoglycemia. More concerning are the symptoms which occur when the brain does not receive enough glucose. These symptoms include forgetfulness, confusion, nausea, seizure disorders and personality changes. Hypoglycemia usually resolves quickly after eating something that is absorbed quickly and with the use of home blood glucose monitoring, it should be an easy diagnosis to make.
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Best Tips To Treat Swollen Feet From Diabetes
Living with diabetes is more than taking insulin when your blood sugar levels are too high. It requires ongoing management to avoid potentially life-threatening complications, mindful eating, and doing what you can to find support and improve your mental health. When diabetes management isnt upheld properly, it leads to problems such as neuropathy, diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney disease, high blood pressure, skin complications, changes in eyesight, and problems with your feet. If you notice any changes to your body or start to lose sensation in your limbs, contact your doctor immediately. Certain complications can be fatal when not addressed immediately. When facing issues with your lower extremities, here are some of the best tips to treat swollen feet from diabetes.
Get A Foot Check At Every Health Care Visit
Ask your health care team to check your feet at each visit. Take off your shoes and socks when youre in the exam room so they will remember to check your feet. At least once a year, get a thorough foot exam, including a check of the feeling and pulses in your feet.
Get a thorough foot exam at each health care visit if you have
- changes in the shape of your feet
- loss of feeling in your feet
- had foot ulcers or an amputation in the past1
Ask your health care team to show you how to care for your feet.
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What To Know About Diabetes
There are two major forms of diabetes, both of which are related to insulin production in the body. Diabetes affects many Americans and requires close monitoring and management throughout life.
- Type I. Often setting in during childhood, type 1 diabetes is less common. It occurs when there is not enough insulin produced by the body to survive and regulate blood glucose levels. A patient with diabetes must administer insulin themselves as needed.
- Type II. This form of diabetes is more common and can develop throughout life, but is frequently seen in patients experiencing an above average body mass index. Some insulin is produced but the body continues to grow more resistant to it.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have severe ramifications both for an individual and the healthcare system.
- The American Diabetes Association estimated that over 34 million Americans have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Every year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.
The good news about diabetes is that it is manageable and, when handled properly with care and attention, doesnt have to impact ones life entirely. Lets take a look at one of the more common symptoms in people with diabetes.
Risk Factors Of Diabetes
Living with swollen legs may eventually lead to the development of other health complications. These complications are often a result of prolonged, unchecked diabetes, consistently high blood sugar levels, fluid buildup in the lower legs and necropsy of the flesh. Here are some common complications resulting from diabetes:
- Ulcers. Swollen hot spots related to immobility can become infected and take a long time to heal.
- Diabetic neuropathy. This term refers to the nerve damage that can happen overtime as blood vessels are damaged. This can lead to whats known as a diabetic foot which refers to the chronic feeling of numbness or tingling in the affected foot.
- Amputation. If a swollen leg is left untreated or is so severe that it can no longer be managed through regular means, amputation may have to take place to prevent gangrene. This may be the worst complication of diabetes swollen leg symptom and is certainly life altering.
- Infected wounds. If your leg or foot is swollen and experiencing numbness, you may be unaware of potential wounds or injuries that occur to that area. Daily foot care is necessary to reduce the risk of other complications like foot ulcers.
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How To Avoid Injury To Feet With Damaged Nerves
- Wear appropriate shoes to protect your feet.
- Avoid injury by wearing well-fitting, protective shoes do not wear open-toed shoes.
- Keep toenails trimmed. Cut toenails along the shape of the toe and file rough edges.
- Have corns or calluses treated by a podiatrist.
- Check the temperature of your bath water with your elbow before stepping into the bath.
- Be careful not to put your feet too close to radiant heaters.
- Every six months, check for signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a problem. These may include reduced circulation or sensations, abnormal foot structure or poor hygiene.
Prepare An Epsom Salt Bath For Your Feet
Why not pamper yourself with a nice Epsom salt bath for your feet? Epsom salt is a popular natural remedy for a number of health issues. And it just so happens to help against diabetic foot problems such as swelling and pain. This is a great method of foot care.
If you happen to struggle with calluses as well, Epsom salt is here to help you. After enjoying your Epsom salt bath, your calluses will get softer. It is then that you use a foot file to eliminate any annoying and say goodbye for good.
Simply fill your tub with some Epsom salt and take a nice, long bath. Or soak only your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes. The nutrients that the Epsom salt has to offer will be absorbed through the skin and act as a swollen feet remedy. A little reminder, though If you have diabetic neuropathy, do test out the water temperature first to prevent any foot injuries.
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What Can Be Done About Edema
The primary course of action should be addressing the underlying conditions that are contributing to your edema. This includes proper management of diabetes and related conditions.
Our podiatry practice is well equipped to help with matters affecting circulation, as we possess our own vascular screening lab staffed by a cardiologist.
When it comes to relieving the symptoms of edema itself, we can certainly help you develop a plan that will work best for your individual needs and lifestyle. It may include many things you can often take care of easily at home, such as:
Take A Magnesium Supplement
Magnesium is a vital mineral. The average adult needs around 200 to 400 mg of magnesium per day. It works in our advantage to maintain a healthy nerve function, preventing nerve damage, and regulating the blood sugar levels, among other functions that it has.
Swollen legs may be a symptom of a magnesium deficiency. In that case, you would need to take a magnesium supplement. Eating more magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are recommended as well.
Do consult your doctor before you purchase a magnesium supplement. If you happen to be diagnosed with kidney disease, a magnesium supplement may make your condition worse. Taking too much magnesium can also cause some health complications.
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