Swelling of feet and legs

By davidvermont Latest Reply 2010-11-09 21:55:43 -0600
Started 2010-06-06 11:48:21 -0500

I have TYPE 2 Diabetes with neuropathy in my feet. I have also been diagnosed with veinous insufficiency (poor blood circulation) in my legs.
I am on 7.5 mg of warfarin (blood thinner) as well as my insulin and oral diabetes meds. I get a lot of swelling in my feet and lower legs and it is hard to tell if this is directly related to my glucose levels. I have been prescribed forisimide for this with limited results. I am wondering if there are other T2s with neuropathy who have this type of swelling problem in their lower extremities and, if so, what ideas you may have for mitigating it.

6 replies

Blessed617 2010-11-09 21:55:43 -0600 Report

Have you ever talked to your doctor about lymphedema? I was diagnosed by my doctor with venous insufficiency and when I went to therapy I was diagnosed with lymphedema. By the time my leg measurements plateaued, and this was just my lower legs and feet being treated, I lost a total of 3 liters of fluid in EACH leg. It is a treatment that is not embraced here in the US because it was founded in Germany, not the US. Therapy consists of placing a cotton stoking over the limb to be treated. Then the limb is wrapped in rolls of quilt batting. After that is a series of bandages that are like ACE bandages only 100%cotton. This applies gradual compression to the limbs allowing the fluid to more easily and effectively drain from the limbs. Many breast cancer patients suffer from this after having surgery. If you opt for compression stockings before losing the excess fluid in the limb be prepared to buy smaller stockings in the future. If you want more information on lymphedema you can check out lymphnet.org If diagnosed with lymphedema do not get the compression stockings until after the limbs have hit the plateau. Otherwise it will be like losing weight and buying a new wardrobe halfway through the weight loss.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2010-06-12 23:10:37 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed Type 2 this Jan. while in the hosp. with cellulites due to venous stasis. Before the cellulites I had leg swelling in both legs. Spent 5 -6 weeks in the hosp. Then another month or more of wound care. Then was sent to a vascular surgeon. Turns out in my case it was from bad veins. He told me, at the 2 week post-op for vein ablation, he would have been able to tell my veins were bad just seeing me on the street 10 years prior to all this misery. My advice to anyone with leg swelling. Get to a Dr. any time you see swelling in your legs. It could be caused by many issues. Some are Diabetes, Lymph Problems, or Vascular Problems, or a combination. What works is different based on the problem that is causing and/or contributing to it. Water pills may have side effects for some conditions that are mild or severe. If your Dr. thinks it's no big deal, try to make him listen.
My father had swelling in his legs and ulcers for years. He was always PreDiabetic with high blood sugars whenever he was hospitalized. The first Drs. he saw did not know what his condition was. One even said Hey, you've got a nice tan.
Unfortunately my father did not elevate his legs…"My back hurts when I do it"…wore his compression stockings 1 time…and the surgery I had for 1 leg last month and will have on the other leg in 2 weeks was not available when he was alive.
Yes it gets hard elevating your legs enough. My wound care Dr. said "I assume you are standing on your head when you are not in my clinic." But I did not want to experience the pain I had again.
Yes I do not really like wearing compression stockings and am worried that after my legs heal from surgery the Dr. will order the higher compression. But I do not want to ever experience the pain I had again.
Catch the swelling early. I was very lucky I did not lose 1 or both legs or even my life, seems when I got to the ER I had MRSA.
I can forget how red my legs are from the knees to my ankles when I have the compression stockings on. I am so lucky all the wounds healed and no nerve damage.
Again do not ignore edema it is a sign of something wrong. If your having swelling see your Dr. I am not trying to scare people, I just do not want anyone else to go through the pain I did.

ston3xc 2010-06-07 09:12:09 -0500 Report

I too, have terrible swelling in my ankles and feet and I do have neuropathy. Mine gets really bad in hot humid weather like Jeannie's, I even told my husband this weekend that winter has become my favorite season!lol! I also take forisimide with, like you, limited results. Mine isn't related to my glucose levels, but check with your dr as everyone is different. A little walking helps me, as does putting my legs up and cooling foot soaks. Hope this helps!

Jeannie Holmes
Jeannie Holmes 2010-06-06 18:08:28 -0500 Report

I have neuropathy in my feet and legs, and I also have terrible swelling. I haven't found much that helps with it. I tried a water pill but it did nothing. I have notice that it is even worse if it is hot or humid out. I just have to put my feet up and hope the swelling goes down. Good luck!

NCBarb 2010-06-06 12:05:50 -0500 Report

I be honest, since I don't have medical care, I can't tell you if I have neuropathy or not … but for the last almost a year, I have had the feet and lower calf swelling. When I cross my feet while sitting at the desk, I get a deep impression where the resting foot was laying. Doesn't hurt or anything, just looks gross LOL I had also noticed that the swelling started almost immediately after rising from bed in the morning. I hated the "tight' sensation along the top of my foot when the swelling was at its peak.

However, with starting this week on my new diet and exercise program, I have noticed a large reduction in the swelling (almost to nothing in my case). I cut sweet tea and soda out completely (drink unsweet tea, sometimes with lemon, and water) and I keep within the recommended carbs each meal. I take no water retention meds - well, no meds of any kind.

I also honestly do not know if taking insulin affects water retention or not. We definitely need other folks to chime in on this.

I hope you find what works for you to reduce the swelling!

Emma2412 2010-06-06 16:23:01 -0500 Report

Hi, Barb
I don't know about the water retention and diabetes thing. I've never noticed it on a consistent basis. Like most women, I do retain water once in a moon and during those times I do have some pain in my legs which goes away after the swelling goes down (usually by the next day). Even if I had water retention every day I would refuse to take any kind of a diuretic.
As to your comment that you don't know if you have neuropathy or not, you don't need a doctor to know. If you have any kind of a "pins and needles" feeling in your feet, you might have it. Of course, that could also indicate poor circulation. I find light exercise (walking, usually) helps any kind of poor circulation problem for me.

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