Diabetics and foot swelling and numbness – DIABETIC SOCK CLUB

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focused on the health benefits of proper foot care for those living with diabetes.

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Diabetics and foot swelling and numbness

What causes diabetic feet to swell?

Swollen feet and ankles are standard in people with diabetes due to poor blood circulation. Excess or trapped fluid builds up in the bodily tissue, causing swelling. Edema is the medical term for swelling. Edema can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Side effects from medication
  • Poor nutrition
  • Pregnancy
  • Compromised immune system
  • Weakened valves 
  • Gravity

Some of the causes of edema are underlying medical conditions: heart failure, thyroid, kidney disease, and diabetes. Edema will cause the affected area of your body to increase in size (swell), which might prevent you from completing your daily tasks or routine. The swelling can make walking painful; it may be unhappy with the skin over your leg feeling tight and stretched out, and it will also be uncomfortable for you because your feet will swell up that you won't even get your feet inside your regular shoes.


You can do several lifestyle changes and treatments at home to reduce swelling in the feet. You could elevate the swollen part of your body or move around if sitting or standing for an extended period. This can reduce swelling and help you feel better. Other procedures are:

  • Wearing compression socks will gently squeeze your legs, promoting better blood circulation and preventing fluid from collecting in your feet and ankles, which minimizes swelling and pain. 
  • Elevation, if you have swollen feet try elevating your feet and let gravity work its magic. Elevating above the level of your heart helps drain built-up fluid from your lower extremities.
  • Epsom salt, a 15- to 20-minute tub soak with Epsom salt can help you. The theory behind this is that salt draws out toxins and increases relaxation. There is not a lot of science behind it, but people who tried it swear that it works, and many doctors recommend it also!
  • Magnesium-rich foods and supplements, water retention, and the accompanying swelling can signify a magnesium deficiency. In that case, magnesium-rich foods to your diet and taking magnesium-rich supplements could be a perfect solution to your painful problem. Foods that are high in magnesium are:
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, flaxseed, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds).
  • Legumes (black beans, lima beans).
  • Fiber-rich whole grains (quinoa).
  • Low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt).
  • Greens (spinach).
  • Dark chocolate.

Another approach to acquiring more magnesium is to take supplements. Magnesium supplements of 200 mg to 400 mg per day may assist in minimizing edema. Before using a magnesium supplement, see your doctor because it may interact poorly with your diabetes treatments.

  • Drink plenty of water; if your tank is running low, your body will naturally hold onto fluids, which can cause swelling. Drinking more water can also help flush out excess salt and other waste.
  • Try peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, or chamomile essential oils.

Swelling can also occur after you eat a lot of salty food in one sitting or a food that contains a lot of salt. This can result in hormone changes. Edema is just one side effect of diabetes. Other symptoms include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Damage to the nerves or eyes

How can a diabetic patient improve foot numbness?


When a diabetic patient has diabetes for a long time, and their blood glucose levels are not controlled at a healthy level or within the target level set by their healthcare practitioner, foot numbness can occur. Diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage can develop over time due to long-term diabetes. Numbness or tingling in the fingers, toes, hands and feet are common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. A scorching, intense, or painful ache is another symptom (diabetic nerve pain). The discomfort may be modest at first, but it can quickly worsen. Walking can be difficult, and even the gentlest touch on your feet can be excruciating. 


Swimming and other forms of physical therapy can aid in treating diabetic neuropathy. High-impact workouts can quickly numb nerves. Thus low-impact activities are the most beneficial. Although scientists are researching future treatments, there is no way to reverse diabetic neuropathy. Controlling blood sugar levels with medication and lifestyle changes is the best strategy to manage diabetic neuropathy. Maintaining target glucose levels lowers the chance of developing neuropathy and associated consequences.


Warm baths are very relaxing and can help with neuropathy pain symptoms. Warm water improves blood circulation throughout the body, reducing numbness-related pain. Many alternative therapies, either alone or in combination with medicines, can aid pain alleviation. Before taking any therapy, supplements, or medications, see your healthcare practitioner first because they may interfere with your blood glucose or diabetes prescriptions. You could try the following for diabetic neuropathy:


  • Capsaicin - When applied to the skin, capsaicin creams can reduce pain sensations in some people. According to an article, once capsaicin is applied to the skin, it causes a brief initial sensitization followed by prolonged desensitization of the local pain nerves. This occurs by stimulating the transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) expressing pain nerve fibers.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) - This is an antioxidant made naturally inside our body and can also be found in foods. It's a compound that is used to break down carbohydrates and turn them into energy. ALA potentially lowers blood glucose, and if you have neuropathy, ALA might provide relief from pain and numbness. 
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine - ALC is said to be potentially effective at preventing peripheral neuropathy and lessening neuropathic symptoms. 
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) - TENS unit gives you a therapeutic dose of electricity to your body. The higher you turn it up, the more intense the feeling will be and the more pain relief you will get. Turning it up as high as it may go may cause discomfort, but it will not harm you.
  • Acupuncture - This is an effective treatment for peripheral neuropathy, with fewer side effects than medications. It is also said that it can help with nerve regeneration and preservation. If there has been nerve damage or diminished sensation, they target treatment in these areas to re-stimulate these nerve fibers.

Here are some home remedies to try that may help to relieve uncomfortable numbness in the legs and feet:

  • Rest - Many conditions that cause leg and foot numbness, such as nerve pressure, improve with rest.
  • Ice - Ice can help reduce swelling that can put pressure on nerves. Apply cold compresses or wrapped icepacks to numb legs and feet for 15 minutes.
  • Heat - Heat can sometimes help loosen stiff, sore, or tense muscles that can pressure nerves and cause numbness.
  • Massage - Massaging numb legs and feet helps improve blood flow and may reduce symptoms.
  • Epsom salt baths - Epsom salts contain magnesium, a compound known to increase blood flow and circulation.

1 comment

  • Very informative

    Hortensia villada

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