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swollen feet

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Messages: 1 - 17 of 17
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by jothenut (U14277545) on Tuesday, 31st August 2010

    I am a wheelchair-user and I expect my feet to swell when they are down, but they are still swollen after I've been led in bed all night. I thought they should go down after they were raised.

    Do other wheelchair-users have experience of this? Can it be sorted?

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Rispantuchops (U14579785) on Tuesday, 31st August 2010

    Sounds like water retention if they dont go down.

    Natural remedies to this are fennel tea and celery, green tea is also a diuretic (takes away water retention) .

    You can also buy water retention tablets from the chemist but the best and most effective ones come from the doctor. If they are so swollen they feel sore and tight you need to see doc asap to get them sorted.

    Good luck with it, mine were doing that a few months back and my tablets from doc were excellent.

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by devine63 (U14166755) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010


    this swelling is called oedema and it can result from a whole range of different things, so you really should see your doctor so they can check out for you what is causing it and help you decide which treatment is most appropriate.
    regards, Deb

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by And (U1866223) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    Good advice from others there. I'm a wobbler. I've had chronic oedema for years on my left ankle. It was originally triggered by a pretty severe bout of cellulitis, and as my circulation isn't the greatest thanks to hemiplegia, it's never gone away completely.

    I do use a foam wedge in bed to raise my legs but they seem reluctant to stay on it whilst I'm asleep.
    I find tea-tree oil massaged in helpful when the cellulitis flares, thank goodness, the flares are fairly mild. I narrowly avoided hospital the first time I had cellulitis and boy, did I feel ill.

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Yvette (U12302253) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    Since I began using a circulation booster, swollen legs and feet are in the past.

    They are expensive but you may get one second hand on eBay.

    Go for the 'proper' circulation booster made by High Tech Health as a friend bought a cheaper imitation and it isn't as good as mine.

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by 1982welshman (U14272859) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    I too suffer from swollen feet and swollen lower legs. I've been a full time wheelchair user for 3 years but the swelling only started 12 months ago, the same time I lost the feeling in my lower legs and feet. Due to the loss of feeling it's not painful but it is a problem.

    My feet are a size 13 anyway, but with them all swollen 24 hours a day 7 days a week trying to get my Crocs shoes on takes forever. My socks take 2 people to try and get them on over my feet. They have to push my feet in then wriggle the sock on. I only put crocs and socks on when I go out which is about once a fortnight. The rest of the time my feet are naked lol.

    3 months ago an ulcer appeared on my lower right leg, then within days another 3 in the same area on the same leg. I've been back and fore to the Drs and to see the Nurses to try and find out a) whats causing the swelling and b) how to stop getting/get rid of these ulcers.

    3 Drs, 2 Nurses all say the same thing. Your in a wheelchair so your lower legs and feet will be swollen. It's just the way it is, get used to it. Tried asking about possible other causes such as water retention or could it be a side affect to the meds I take only to be told no no no, its because your in a wheelchair. Ulcers are something else which I get the 'because your in a wheelchair' answer. The fact that nothing seems to clear them up and they are only on the right leg is apparently just coincidence.

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by jaimelicious (U12745229) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    oedema and leg ulcers - i'm not a doctor/probably don't know what i'm on about - but do you have/have you been tested for diabetes? i believe both problems are quite prevelant in untreated diabetes and really do need something doing about them.

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by 1982welshman (U14272859) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    I got tested for diabetes 10 years ago after fainting at school but thats it. One parent has it and so does a few family members so I know I'm in with more than an average chance of getting it.

    I've asked about it at the Drs but I got the same 'because your in a wheelchair' speech. It may well be because I'm in a wheelchair but I get the impression that it's easier to blame the wheelchair than actually look any further into it. I've got another appointment for more ulcer dressings on Monday with the nurse, I'll ask again.

    I've never had any experience of Leg Ulcers before so I don't know if 3 months without any improvement is the norm.


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  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Yvette (U12302253) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    Nurses all say the same thing. Your in a wheelchair so your lower legs and feet will be swollen. It's just the way it is, 
    Your nurses are stupid and ignorant.

    See your GP.

    I used to get a swollen leg because of cellulitis and repeated surgery on my leg (before using a circulation booster) but my other leg doesn't get swollen.

    Tthere are thousands of wheelchair users who do NOT get swollen legs.

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  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by 1982welshman (U14272859) on Wednesday, 1st September 2010

    My GP and 2 other Drs I've seen say exactly the same thing. The nurses agree with the Drs.

    My first 2 years of being in a wheelchair I never experienced any swelling of my feet, ankles or lower legs. Then as soon as they swelled last year and stayed swollen the feeling goes.

    I'm glad its not just me that thinks this 'because your in a wheelchair' answer is a cop out.

    Funnily enough I'm looking at High Tech Health circulation boosters now, really tempted to give it a try. Would be great to go to the Drs for a dressings change without swollen feet and ask why they think they've de-swelled with my still being in a wheelchair.

    Which circulation booster have you got Yvette? Is it the V3 one? Do they make much noise?

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by devine63 (U14166755) on Thursday, 2nd September 2010

    Hello folks

    I just love ignorant health "professionals" who have forgotten how to use their brains and in the process have forgotten their basic physiology! You can guess, I am not their favourite kind of patient.

    There are many possible causes for oedema, so it does depend a bit on your health conditions, but I will get back to that in a moment.

    First ulcers: yes they are more common in people with diabetes, but they also occur in people who have bad circulation and for other reasons.

    If you have not been tested recently for sugar in the urine it would be worth asking the nurse at your surgery (or even buying a pack of dip sticks from the chemist and checking it yourself!) as it can develop quite suddenly. And even if not actually diabetic you could be insulin resistant (that is more complicated and requires a much more specific test than the urine dip) which is often a pre-cursor to type 2 diabetes.
    My specialist tells me that not only are more people turning out to be diabetic, but it is happening to people younger and younger (used to be over 40s) and also some people who are NOT overweight are developing type 2 diabetes (which should be impossible given most doctors ASSUME that being fat causes type 2 - there is an association, but it is not always true that one goes with the other.

    It is not at all unusual for leg ulcers to be very slow to heal - so 3 months might not be so unreasonable. Partly this is due to to poor blood supply but also healing is usually slower in diabetics - and the worse your blood sugar control, usually the worse the healing problems and ulcers.

    The only prevention I have found is to be very very diligent and to keep slapping on the lotion (several times a day) to stop the skin getting too dry on the whole leg.

    Treating ulcers: If the doc says it is OK you could also try allowing the ulcerated part to soak for short periods in either salty water (wash off carefully afterwards to prevent skin drying and itching due to salt residue) or water with a few drops of teatree oil - either of those are good antiseptics which will help prevent the ulcer getting infection.

    By the way: some people mentioned having cellulitis and of course that is a possibility - but my diagnosis of cellulitis was scrapped when I was referred to a specialist - instead he said I have a combination of "venous insufficiency" (basically my circulation is not very good in my legs) and a vascular dermatitis - which results in red inflamed skin on my lower legs, apparently it is caused by red blood cells being squeezed out (by high blood pressure) from capilaries under the skin and breaking down there.
    Apparently this can be mistaken for cellulitis and some other kinds of skin conditions.

    Going back to oedema: I will explain in a minute why anyone who sat in a chair most of the day might develop swollen legs and feet but first the medical conditions which can lead to swelling of legs / feet (and sometimes other parts of the body):
    kidney problems - often oedema is due to "water retention"
    heart problems - especially high blood pressure, disturbed heart rythmn, anything that slows down circulation or makes circulation poor
    I expect other things can cause it too.... so if you have these, they are probably at least as likely an explanation as "this happens because you are in w wheelchair".

    For those who may be interested here is a short physiological explanation of why the legs of anyone who sat down all day (not just wheelchair users) might swell:

    The body has at least 2 circulatory systems - one is the blood supply, where the heart pushes blood around the body. Circulatory problems are often indicated by hand and feet being cold (to the touch) a lot of the time but also things like varicose veins are also an indicator. Most of the time, the heart can cope with a seated position, as long as none of the body parts are positioned so they pinch a blood vessel. Most of us have experience of this - it is what has happened when your arm "falls asleep" and then once you move and release the pinch, the blood supply returns and you get "pins and needles". The solution is to ensure you move your position regularly, even if you have to stay seated.

    The other circulatory system is called the Lymphatic (or just lymph) system where a fatty fluid called lymph is moved around the body through some tubes. This system has no pump, so the only way the lymph (fluid) circulates around the body is by the lymph system's tubes being squeezed - and most of the time, that squeeze is supplied by the movements of nearby muscles, so if your muscles do not contract and relax (e.g. due to paralysis or at least reduced muscle function) then they cannot help the lymph move around the body. So if the lymph is not being actively moved around, due to gravity it does tend to pool in the lowest parts of the body - especially if the knees and hips are bent, as that makes it more like the lymph will stay in the lower legs, because there is nothing pushing it uphill and past the bends at knee and hip.

    What helps with oedema?
    1. Sit as much as you can with your legs raised so ankles are higher than hips (ideally with leg as straight as is comfortable) and with the whole length of the leg supported.

    2. If you have a kind person available, simple massage can really help [BUT no amateur should ever massage a body part which hurts, so do bear that in mind - they can accidentally do harm]. The masseur should always work towards you heart, no matter where they are touching at the time. Don't let anyone do this with bare hands, as they will rapidly feel like sandpaper and damage your skin, any reasonably sloppy (liquid) body lotion is helpful simply for lubrication - pick one with a smell you like, as it will hang around - and of course the lotion is a good moisturiser too, which is no bad thing. Any reasonably smooth movement of the hands lubricated by lotion feels pretty good, and if you have oedema the gentle pressure helps the fluid built up under the skin to drain away - as long as the movement is towards the heart (and if you don't know where your heart is, use centre of your breastbone as a target).

    I hope that helps,
    regards, deb

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Yvette (U12302253) on Thursday, 2nd September 2010

    The circulation booster I have is either the original one, or the V2.

    The only difference is that the V3 is flat to push under a chair to tidy it away.

    The one I have is much deeper and is angled so the top is higher than the bottom edge.

    As I'm a bit short, the deeper machine is better as I can reach it more easily than the flat on.e

    You can buy either the V2 or V3 on eBay much cheaper, but of course you don't get the guarantee.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by And (U1866223) on Tuesday, 7th September 2010

    That's this month's DLA & DPWTC taken care of then. I had no idea if these would work. Thank you for the excellent advice Yvette and Deb, huge virtual hugs to you both.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by Yvette (U12302253) on Tuesday, 7th September 2010

    Thanks for the lovely hug, And. Just what I needed. smiley - smiley

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by jbtyke2 (U14291512) on Tuesday, 7th September 2010

    Hi jothenut

    I am also a wheelchair user and get swollen feet cos of poor circulation. If I've been in my chair for a longer time than normal I often get swollen feet, but like you they often go down again overnight. However if I've had a few days of being in my chair for longer than normal it can often take longer than just over night for them to go down. If its not practical for you to have some time lying down or stretching on a settee etc, you should make sure your feet are well supported while you're in your chair or driving etc.

    I also get ulcers like others have mentioned and again theyre slow to heal cos of poor circulation. I've had all the necessary tests and the conclusion is that its down to my life long paralysis and not much can be done about the underlying situation.

    I've also had cellulitis once, but it was a very different situation. My right leg swelled up to 3 times its normal size from about half way down my thigh, and was the colour of raw salmon. This came on in about 24 hours so it was very different to my normal swollen legs. It took 3 weeks of intravenous antibiotics to get things under control then another 6 weeks of tablets to get rid of the infection, but its not come back since and that was more than a few years ago now.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by And (U1866223) on Friday, 17th September 2010

    It's arrived! Later than the 3-5 days advertised, but they used the firm that give you a confirmed hour of arrival and allow you to change the date of delivery.
    Slight downside - the 30 days trial period starts from the date you order it, and that was 10 days ago. Also I have to post off a form to get my VAT rebate.
    Upside, a 3 year warranty, a large tube of v. nice foot cream included and reasonably clear instructions.

    Biggest upside? It works. It was wonderful to feel the muscles working in my hemi leg. They were tingling afterwards just as they do after I've been on my trike.

    Also it didn't seem to interfere with my using my laptop, and lengthy sessions sat on the pc/laptop are the biggest cause of my ankles becoming 'cankles' (ankles that are just continuations of the calf in appearance).

    smiley - hug to all who recommended

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Yvette (U12302253) on Friday, 17th September 2010

    I'm so pleased for you, And. smiley - smiley

    Report message17

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