Swelling or peripheral edema in either one or both lower extremities is a common complaint. Peripheral edema can be caused by a variety of conditions, some of which are benign, while others are more serious. Peripheral edema is seen in many diabetic patients due to damaged capillaries. These capillaries are damaged by increased pressure, and this leads to leakage of fluid into tissues. Edema is not just an inconvenience, but can also cause complications, such as poor wound healing. Edema should be evaluated to determine whether the cause is benign, and discuss treatment options available to lessen the severity and prevent damage to nerves.
There are many ways to manage and lessen the severity of edema. The following tips apply to edema from all causes, including edema caused by diabetes.
- Simply elevating the affected leg or foot can help minimize swelling. Be sure to elevate the leg or foot above the level of the heart for best results.
- Exercising is also a great way to reduce swelling, especially in diabetic patients. Exercise not only increases circulation to the lower extremity, but also helps to reduce blood sugar.
- Compression stockings work by returning fluid to the lymphatic system, while also improving circulation. Compression stockings may not be the most comfortable, but they help significantly reduce edema. Compression stockings are not suitable for everyone, and in some circumstances may be contraindicated.
- Minimizing sodium intake can help by preventing water retention, and also reducing blood pressure.
- Do not sit with your legs crossed because this will reduce circulation to your lower extremities, and may worsen edema.
- Ensure that shoes do not fit too tight, and fit comfortably.
These are just tips to reduce edema, and do not replace seeing a physician to ensure edema is not caused by something more serious, such as a blood clot or peripheral arterial disease. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to maintaining your health. Take care of your feet so they don’t slow you down!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.
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