Why Diabetes Makes Your Feet Swell

Diabetic Foot Swelling

One of the side effects of diabetes is swollen feet. This occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high or low, causing edema or water retention in your extremities. Swollen feet are uncomfortable and can make it difficult to wear shoes or walk. At Horizon Feet & Ankle, we’ll help you to understand why diabetes makes your feet swell and recommend diabetic foot care solutions.

High Sugar Intake

If you have diabetes, your body isn’t able to make or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that breaks down sugar into energy. Too much sugar in the body causes damage to the lining of capillaries. This low-down blood circulation results in foot swelling.

Poor Water Retention

If your water intake is low, your body dehydrates, preventing proper circulation and drainage of waste products from the tissues. This will cause fluid buildup in the tissues around your ankles and feet, making them swell up.

High Sodium Intake

Sodium controls fluid balance and maintains blood pressure and volume in your body. Taking food with too much salt can increase sodium levels in your body. It increases your blood pressure, leading to fluid retention, which causes foot swelling.

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.

Home Remedies for Diabetic Foot Care Solutions

At Horizon Feet & Ankle Institute, we recommend home remedies and medical treatment for diabetic foot care.

Use Compression Socks

The compression helps maintain the right pressure in your feet and legs. This improves the blood floor in your feet, reducing swelling and cramping.

Lose Weight

Losing weight helps reduce strain on your feet, lowering foot swelling risks. It aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, preventing capillaries damage. When losing weight, aim for smaller amounts of food. This will help keep your blood sugar levels steady.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising helps increase blood circulation, which helps prevent foot swelling. It can help lower blood sugar levels and manages stress levels, which are some diabetic risk factors. Exercises such as yoga and jogging are suitable for a start.

Increase Your Potassium Intake

 A potassium deficiency contributes to water retention and high blood pressure. Potassium works by countering the effects of sodium to prevent swelling and fluid buildup. Consider eating potassium-rich foods like white beans, pistachios, and salmon if you don’t have any dietary limitations.

Try Magnesium Supplements

Foot swelling or fluid retention signify low magnesium in the body. Add magnesium-rich foods or supplements to your diet to regulate blood sugar levels and nerve function.

Soak Your Feet in Epsom Salt

Epsom salt has magnesium sulfate that helps relieve pain and muscle aches in people with swollen feetThis diabetic foot care solution has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation in the feet.

Limit Sodium Intake

Limiting your salt intake may help eliminate the excess water retention and swelling in your feet. Look for food with a low sodium amount and refrain from adding salts to your meals.

Increase Movement

If you stand in one place or sit for long, try moving around. A simple walk to the washroom helps increase blood flow in your body, reducing the chances of swollen feet.

Elevate Your Feet 

Use a pillow or footrest to elevate your feet above your heart level. Elevating your feet helps fluid flow back towards the upper body, preventing fluid retention in your lower body. You may use a chair with a built-in footrest or a flatbed mattress with no box spring to raise your feet.

When To See a Podiatrist

See your podiatrist if:

  • You have pain or pressure in your foot. The pressure varies from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent
  • You feel discomfort when moving around or reduced mobility
  • You have numbness or tingling in the area of your sore (known as neuropathy)
  • The skin around your feet is shiny and stretchy
  • You feel tenderness when pressing on a specific spot along the sole. It could mean you have an ulcer
  • You have severe cough and breathing problems. Foot swelling may cause an accumulation of fluid in your lungs, leading to breath shortness and coughing
  • You see red streaks radiating outward from sores on top of toes or sides of feet.

Schedule an Appointment with Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute

If the above diabetic foot care solutions don’t help reduce your swelling or notice any of the above symptoms, contact Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute. Our team of qualified podiatrists offers a variety of foot treatments to help you get back on your feet. Schedule your appointment today.