7 Tips to Treat Swollen Feet in Diabetics

By:Ariba Khaliq, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Feb 20, 2015

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Treatment of diabetes doesn’t just include controlling blood sugar levels. You will also have to deal with other health problems it brings along. Swollen feet is one such harm. Fortunately, you can treat them at home with some lifestyle changes.
  • 1

    Diabetes and Swollen Feet

    Diabetics often complain of swelling in the feet and legs. It happens due to improper blood circulation because an increased pressure damages blood capillaries. Damaged capillaries cause peripheral oedema, leakage of fluids into surrounding tissues, which causes swelling. However, several other reasons can play a role in causing swollen feet in diabetics. The risk of infections and severe complications like foot ulcers and gangrene that can even lead to limb amputation can increase in diabetics with swollen feet. That’s why, you should not ignore even minor swelling in your feet. In most cases, when the swelling has just started, simple lifestyle changes can reduce swelling and provide relief to a great extent.  Here are 7 tips for diabetics to reduce swelling in the feet.

    Image: Getty



  • 2

    Exercise Regularly

    Add this to the other amazing benefits of being active: Regular exercise will improve bone and joint health in your feet and legs, improve circulation to your legs, and will also help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. But you should consult your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.’ Do not practice rigorous exercises as it can lead to exercise-induced oedema.

    Image: Getty



  • 3

    Elevate Your Legs

    Elevation of feet (above the heart level) using a support or a pillow for 10-15 minutes every day can help to reduce swelling. Elevation drains out excess fluid from the surrounding tissues and improves circulation.

    Image: Getty



  • 4

    Use Compression Stockings and Bandages

    Compression products are now widely available for foot care in diabetics. They exert pressure on the affected area and help to get rid of fluid retention. Increased external pressure also causes the fluid to return to the lymphatic system and improves circulation of blood. A study by Wu SC and colleagues showed that use of mild compression socks in diabetic patients with oedema greatly reduced calf and foot swelling without compromising vascularity.

    Image: Getty



  • 5

    Reduce Salt Intake

    Dietary changes can help a lot in reducing swelling. Diabetics should in general consume less salt and eat foods that are naturally low in sodium because salt increases blood pressure and trigger swelling in the feet.

    Image: Getty



  • 6

    Wear Comfortable Shoes

    Diabetics should avoid wearing tight shoes. It’s better to buy shoes with one size bigger so that even if your feet start swollen, circulation won’t reduce totally. Also, women having diabetes should avoid wearing high heels. Mr Bhushan suggests visiting a podiatrist for ensuring proper fitting of the shoes or buying shoes from a shop that specializing in shoe fitting for people with diabetes.

    Image: Getty



  • 7

    Massage Your Feet

    Massage improves blood circulation in the entire leg and reduces pain associated with swelling. A leg and foot massage, either at a salon, spa, or from your partner, can also help reduce swelling. With your legs raised, ask your partner to gently rub the outer part of your legs. Ask them to try long, gentle strokes, circular motions starting at your foot. Just remember to always massage towards the heart.

    Image: Getty



  • 8

    Be Careful About Your Posture

    Don’t stand or sit for a long period of time. It causes numbness because of reduced circulation. Also, you should avoid sitting with your legs crossed because it affects blood circulation to the extremities.

    Image: Getty

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  • Anita Mas20 Oct 2015
    There's a lot at stake when it comes to foot health for diabetics. I do not want to have any amputation or any of those problems (who does?). I'll have to remember to exercise more regularly and wear compression stockings and other diabetic foot gear. It's too important to ignore. I'll even reduce salt intake if I have to.
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