Not all diabetics suffer from swelling ankles, but when they do it can be pretty rough going. There are several reasons why a diabetic may develop swollen ankles and almost as many preventions and solutions to the problem. First let’s look at why a diabetic person may have swollen ankles, then let’s look at how to manage diabetes and reduce an swelling that does occur despite good care and great planning.

Why do ankles swell?

In some cases the swelling is the first indicator that something is going wrong and a doctor’s care is required. Unfortunately, some medications can actually result in swollen ankles, legs and hands. Diet can result in swollen ankles as well. Diabetes is an aggressive disease that can often come with other peripheral conditions as a result of its progress.

Health conditions that can cause swelling

Peripheral edema is the result of swollen tissue in the extremities as a result of fluids that have settled in those parts of the body. If left untreated it can become quite painful and cause severe damage. Diabetic Neuropathy can cause numbness in the feet and hands. As a result a person can suffer a severe injury such as a sprain or broken bone and not even know it until the area becomes visibly swollen.

Diabetes usually comes with a weakening of the immune system.  As a result of a weakened system diabetics tend to be susceptible to infections that can show as swollen tissue that may be accompanied with a mild fever and redness in the swollen areas of the body.  The edema mentioned early can be a direct result of high blood pressure, leading to heart failure. These conditions require the immediate care of your doctor to reduce the causes of the swelling.

Another health condition that tends to go away on its on is swelling related to gestational diabetes. Usually this goes away after the baby is born, but the mother is ever after vulnerable to developing full-blown type-2 diabetes.

How can you help reduce swelling discomfort?

There are a few home remedies you can use in the short term to help reduce the swelling and discomfort.  Remember, though, that is vitally important that you seek medical care as soon as possible.

  • Twice a day lay down with ankles resting on pillows with the feet raised slightly above the level of the heart
  • Get regular exercise to reduce the buildup of fluids
  • Ask your doctor about compression socks or hose. The socks do not have seams or elastic to allow for better blood circulation
  • Eat a lower sodium diet
  • Alternate periods of standing and sitting to improve circulation
  • Massage from the top of calf down toward the toes
  • Wear comfortable shoes that tie rather than strap on to enable adjusting footwear when feet are swollen. Women should wear low or no heeled shoes.
  • Don’t sit with legs crossed to allow blood to flow freely.
  • Quit smoking to help your body function at its best.

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