Effective Ways to Treat Swollen Feet with Diabetes

Discover effective strategies to alleviate swollen feet, a common concern for those with diabetes. Learn how to treat swollen feet diabetes safely and comfortably.

Diabetes affects how well blood circulates and can cause the feet and legs to swell. This swelling is known as edema. It happens when fluid builds up in tissues. Eating too much salt, sitting for a long time, or changes in hormones can make swelling worse. Because of this condition, the body cannot make enough insulin or any at all. This can harm the small blood vessel walls. Then, blood circulation weakens, leading to swelling in the feet and ankles.

Swelling in people with diabetes can also be because of obesity, venous insufficiency, heart or kidney problems, and some medications.1

Key Takeaways

  • Diabetes can lead to poor blood circulation and fluid buildup in the feet and ankles, resulting in swelling.
  • Factors like obesity, heart conditions, and medication side effects can also contribute to swollen feet in people with diabetes.
  • Compression socks, elevating the feet, and staying hydrated can help reduce swelling.
  • Reducing salt intake, taking magnesium supplements, and regular exercise can also be effective in managing swollen feet.
  • Natural remedies like essential oils and Epsom salt foot soaks may provide additional relief.

Understanding Swollen Feet in Diabetes

Swollen feet, known as edema, happens when extra fluid gets trapped in the body’s tissues. For people with diabetes, this problem is more common. High blood sugar from diabetes can harm the small blood vessels, leading to less blood flow.2 When blood doesn’t circulate well, it can collect in the feet and ankles.

What is Edema?

Edema is where too much liquid is in body tissues, causing them to swell. The feet, ankles, and lower legs are often affected.2 Many things can lead to edema, like issues with the heart or kidneys, poor blood flow, and some drugs.

Connection Between Diabetes and Swelling

Diabetes is a long-term condition that impacts millions worldwide.2 It can harm the small blood vessels’ linings, making it hard for blood to flow normally. This can result in swollen feet and ankles due to fluid build-up.2

If diabetes is not well-controlled, it can lead to swollen feet. This type of swelling is known as diabetic foot edema.

Other Causes of Swollen Feet in Diabetes

Not just diabetes, but several other factors can also cause swollen feet. Obesity, not enough blood flow in the veins, heart and kidney problems, and some medications are involved.2 Injuries like sprains or cuts can make it worse, especially with less feeling in the feet because of diabetes.

How to Treat Swollen Feet Diabetes

Swollen feet are a big hurdle for those with diabetes. Luckily, there are steps to ease this issue. By taking the right actions, you can fight this common problem.

Wear Compression Socks

Compression socks boost blood flow and decrease swelling.1 They are advised by a 2017 study for their benefits.1 Remember, they shouldn’t be too tight.

Elevate Your Feet

Raising your feet above your heart level fights swelling. It helps fluids move back to the heart. This easy tip aids in feeling better and ups circulation.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping well-hydrated combats the body’s urge to retain water.1 Try to keep salt under 2,300 mg daily, as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines say. It helps a lot, especially for those with diabetes.1 But, those with issues like heart or liver edema might need to watch their fluid intake. They should consult their doctor first.

compression socks for diabetic swelling

Dietary Changes for Swollen Feet Relief

Eating too much salt can make your feet swell. So, limit your sodium to 2,300 mg daily. A doctor might tell you to eat even less.1 Try using herbs and spices instead of salt. Garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, and paprika can make your food tasty without causing swelling.3 Magnesium is critical for nerve and blood sugar control. Without it, you could swell more. Adults should get 400-420 mg if they’re male, and 310-360 mg if female. Always check with your doctor for the right amount.1

Reduce Salt Intake

Having too much salt can increase foot swelling. So, keep your daily salt under 2,300 milligrams. Or, eat even less as your doctor advises.1 Use tasty herbs and spices like garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, and paprika. They’ll make your food delicious without causing swelling.3

Incorporate Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is a must for nerve and blood sugar control. Shortage of magnesium might lead to more swelling.1 Men should aim for 400 to 420 mg, and women for 310 to 360 mg daily.1 Remember to talk to your doctor before adding magnesium supplements. They’ll help you find the right dose for your needs.

Lifestyle Modifications to Manage Swelling

For people with diabetes, staying active is key to dealing with swollen feet. It also helps in avoiding other health problems.4 Activities like swimming, cycling, and walking boost blood flow and cut down on swelling.4 It’s also vital to keep your weight under control. Being overweight stresses your legs more, leading to worse swelling.2 Getting up and moving around every one hour, even just for a short break, fights off stagnated fluid.4 The best mix of exercises includes both aerobic and strength training for managing diabetes well.

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Exercise Regularly

Regular exercises like swimming, cycling, and walking are really good for you.4 They make your blood flow and prevent too much fluid from staying in your feet.4

Manage Your Weight

Keeping your weight within a healthy range is extra important when you have diabetes.4 It eases the pressure on your lower limbs, helping to reduce swelling.2 Eating right and exercising regularly are your best tools. They can keep your feet from hurting and lower the swelling risk.

Avoid Sedentary Behavior

Sitting too long or being too still can make your feet swell if you have diabetes.4 So, remember to stand up and move every hour, even for a little while.4 This easy step boosts blood flow and keeps the swelling at bay.

how to treat swollen feet diabetes

If you have diabetes, you might face swollen feet and ankles. This happens due to poor blood flow from high blood sugar. It’s often linked to being overweight, not having healthy veins, heart and kidney issues, and some medications.

But, there are ways to fight swollen feet with diabetes. Wearing compression socks helps blood move better and cuts down swelling.1 Raising your feet above your heart can help your body get rid of extra fluid.1 And make sure to drink enough water. Being dehydrated makes your body store more water.1

You can also change what you eat to help. Try not to have more than 2,300 milligrams of salt each day. This advice comes from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. It can lessen swelling.1 Taking magnesium supplements is a good idea, too. Lack of magnesium could make your body keep too much fluid.1

Working out regularly can improve blood flow and lower swelling from being still too much.1 Always maintain a healthy weight. Being too heavy can pressure your legs and feet more.1 Don’t sit for long periods without moving. Try to stand up and walk around every hour to avoid swelling.5

Treating the reasons behind the swelling, like not enough blood flow, nerve problems, and keeping too much fluid, can help those with diabetes feel and stay better.1 It’s about using a mix of these tips that fit your situation. This way, you can handle swollen feet well and keep your feet in good shape.

Alternative Remedies for Swollen Feet

Compression socks and diet changes help many with diabetes deal with swollen feet. Others try different options. Some essential oils, like Hyptis martiusii benth and lavender, are believed to help. They might make blood flow better and reduce swelling. Yet, we still need more research to be sure they work.1

Try Essential Oils

Research shows that applying certain essential oils to the skin might lessen foot swelling.1 Oils like Hyptis martiusii benth and lavender could help by boosting blood flow and fighting inflammation. Because the evidence is sparse, using essential oils for diabetic foot swelling is a bit of an experiment. But, it could be a helpful extra step.

Epsom Salt Foot Soaks

Epsom salt, made from magnesium sulfate, is known to do more than just relax muscles. For those with diabetic neuropathy, foot soaks in Epsom salt may reduce swelling and pain.6 This method can be soothing, but it’s crucial to check the water’s warmth. People with diabetes might not feel very hot water and could get hurt. For them, regular epsom salt foot baths for edema could be part of their self-care routine.

Foot Care for Diabetic Swelling

For people with diabetes, taking care of their feet is critical, especially if they have swelling. It’s important to wear diabetic foot wear for swelling that fits well. They should also be one size larger to allow for any swelling. This prevents tight shoes from making circulation worse and swelling bigger.5 It’s also good to get foot massages for diabetic edema to help blood flow. This makes the pain and uncomfort less as blood moves better from the feet to the heart.

Wear Proper Footwear

Choosing the right shoes is a must for those with diabetes and swelling.5 Tight shoes can really harm blood flow and make swelling worse. It’s a good idea to get shoes that are one size bigger than your normal shoes. This fits better, even if your feet swell.5

Get Foot Massages

Foot massages are great for anyone with diabetes who has swollen feet.1 They make blood move better and help with pain. Focus the massage on the feet and legs, using soft, long strokes. This gets the blood flowing back to the heart smoothly.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you notice new or worsening swelling, or if your whole body swells, see a doctor. This could be a sign of a hidden issue like obesity, poor vein function, or heart problems1. Swelling on just one side might mean a clot and needs urgent care. For those with diabetes, quick action is needed for any foot sores that won’t heal to avoid infections.

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Over 37 million Americans have diabetes, and most of them have type 27. The CDC says over 130 million U.S. adults have diabetes or might get it7. Sadly, diabetes is high on the list of causes of death7. Up to half of people with diabetes could face neuropathy, a serious problem7.

Diabetes can slow blood flow, cause heart complications, harm the kidneys, and bring on swelling from some medications7. If someone with diabetes sees any swelling, especially if it’s getting worse or affecting their whole body, a doctor’s visit is vital. They can pinpoint the issue and start the right treatment1.

Preventing Diabetic Foot Complications

To avoid severe foot issues from diabetes, check your feet often and visit a podiatrist regularly.1 Doing so helps in early issue spotting and treatment. It’s key to keep your blood sugar levels stable. High glucose harms your blood vessels and nerves. This leads to poor circulation, swelling, and other foot troubles.7 By managing your condition well, many foot problems can be stopped or controlled early.

Regular Foot Checks

For those with diabetes, checking your feet and having them looked at by a pro are crucial. This way, you can catch and treat problems early, lessening the chance of big issues.2

Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping your blood sugar in check is vital to avoid foot problems.7 High sugar can hurt your blood vessels and nerves, causing circulation issues, swelling, and more. By sticking to a health plan and taking meds as needed, you help protect your feet.1

The Importance of Early Intervention

It’s vital for people with diabetes to quickly address swollen feet and other foot problems. If these issues go untreated, they can cause serious problems. For example, infection might force someone to have their foot amputated in the worst cases.8 Being proactive with foot care and seeking help right away can help avoid these severe complications.

Diabetes is becoming more common, with the number of cases expected to rise. By 2025, there could be 380 million people with diabetes.8 About 15% of them will deal with diabetic foot ulcers at some point, making it a leading reason for hospitalization.8 Not treating swollen feet early can lead to needing an amputation, a risk much higher for diabetics than non-diabetics.8

It’s expensive to care for a diabetic foot ulcer, costing between $7,000 and $10,000. The cost can jump up to $65,000 if amputation is necessary.8 In some countries, diabetic foot care uses a lot of healthcare resources. In places where resources are limited, up to 40% of healthcare funds might go to treating these complications.8

Nurses are crucial in diabetic foot care, working on prevention and educating patients.8 Working as a team can lower amputation rates and significantly reduce costs.8 With early intervention and proper management, up to 85% of diabetes-related amputations can be avoided.8

It’s key for individuals with diabetes to address foot problems early. By taking a proactive approach, they can avoid serious complications. This includes self-care, regular checks, and prompt medical help. Doing so can lower the risk of foot ulcers and amputations, and enhance life quality and outcomes.

Combining Treatments for Best Results

To deal with swollen feet in diabetes, it’s best to use multiple strategies.2 This includes wearing compression socks and keeping the feet up. Also, drink lots of water, lower salt in your diet, take magnesium, and exercise often.9 It’s important to keep your weight in check and get help from a foot specialist.2 Doing all these things can help people with diabetes feel less swollen and avoid more problems.

The right diabetic foot care means you’ll need to deal with lots of issues.2 You’ll need to watch your blood sugar and take care of your nerves and blood vessels.9 Plus, you’ll need to keep an eye on how your body handles fluids.9 A mix of lifestyle changes and medical help can do wonders for swollen feet. It makes it easier to manage and lowers the chances of big foot troubles.

Working with a healthcare team, including a podiatrist, is key.2 They can set you up with a plan that fits your specific needs. Combining treatments for swollen feet in diabetes with their expertise can really help. This team effort is great for easing pain and avoiding more health issues.

Treatment ApproachDescriptionBenefits
Compression SocksApplying gentle, even pressure to the legs and feet to improve circulation and reduce fluid buildup.Helps alleviate swelling, promotes blood flow, and prevents further complications.
ElevationRaising the feet above heart level to allow excess fluid to drain back towards the body.Effectively reduces swelling and discomfort, especially when combined with compression.
Dietary ChangesReducing sodium intake, increasing water consumption, and adding magnesium-rich foods or supplements.Helps regulate fluid balance, address potential deficiencies, and mitigate underlying causes of swelling.
Regular ExerciseEngaging in moderate-intensity activities like walking, swimming, or cycling to improve circulation.Boosts blood flow, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and promotes overall foot health.
Weight ManagementAchieving and maintaining a healthy body weight to reduce stress on the lower extremities.Alleviates pressure on the feet and legs, which can contribute to or exacerbate swelling.
Professional Foot CareSeeking regular checkups and treatment from a podiatrist to address any underlying foot issues.Helps identify and address the root causes of swelling, preventing further complications.
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When people with diabetes use all these treatments together, they can really make a difference. This full plan deals with every possible reason for swelling. It helps folks take charge of their foot health and keeps away serious issues.


Swollen feet are a common issue for people with diabetes. This is often due to poor circulation and nerve damage. Fluid retention also plays a part.2 Yet, there are many ways to help, like wearing compression socks, keeping your feet up, changing your diet, moving more, and trying other treatments.210 With careful foot care, those with diabetes can lessen swelling, avoid problems, and keep moving.10

It’s vital to check your feet often, act early if there’s a problem, and use treatments that fit you.21011 Working with a healthcare expert to create a personalized care plan is important for managing diabetes-related foot swelling.2 With a good plan, people with diabetes can improve their foot health. They can also lessen how much the swelling affects them daily.

Looking at what’s causing the swelling is the first step. This includes issues like poor circulation and nerve damage. By making lifestyle changes and using medical help, people with diabetes can ease the swelling and stop it from getting worse.210 A deep care method can help them keep a good quality of life.11


What is edema and how is it connected to diabetes?

Edema means swelling from too much trapped fluid in body tissues. High blood sugar from diabetes can harm blood vessels. This makes the body have trouble moving fluid away from the feet and ankles. As a result, they can swell.

What other factors can contribute to swollen feet in people with diabetes?

Obesity and poor blood flow add to the problem. Heart and kidney issues, along with certain drugs, can cause swelling. So can untreated wounds, where the body’s lack of feeling is from diabetes.

How can compression socks and elevating the feet help reduce swelling?

Compression socks keep the right pressure, which helps blood flow. Putting your feet up helps move fluid away from them. This can make them less swollen.

Why is staying hydrated important for managing swollen feet with diabetes?

Drinking enough water is key because a dehydrated body holds onto water. But, some people, especially with heart or liver issues, might need to limit fluid. A doctor’s advice is crucial here.

How can dietary changes help reduce swelling?

Cutting back on salt helps because it makes the body keep more water. A level of 2,300 mg per day is safe for most. Magnesium in food or supplements helps control fluid and sugar levels, easing swelling.

What types of exercise can help manage swollen feet?

Activities like swimming and cycling, where you’re not standing, help move blood well. They can also lower how much your feet swell. Keeping weight down is important too, as it puts less stress on the legs.

What are some alternative remedies that may help reduce swelling?

Essential oils like Hyptis martiusii benth and lavender, when used on the skin, might help flow blood better and reduce swelling. Epsom salt soaks can lessen pain and swelling in feet, a big help for those with diabetes.

Why is it important to wear proper, well-fitting footwear?

Good shoes are a must for those with diabetes, as bad ones can make swelling and circulation issues worse. Buying slightly bigger shoes can help if your feet often swell.

When should someone with diabetes seek medical attention for swollen feet?

Any new or getting worse swelling must be checked by a doctor, especially if it’s all over or just on one side. This could point to serious health issues, like a blood clot, which needs emergency treatment.

How can regular foot checks and blood sugar management help prevent diabetic foot complications?

Checking your feet often and going to the podiatrist can spot and treat problems early. Keeping your blood sugar in a good range is also vital. It stops damage to blood vessels and nerves which cause trouble with swelling and other foot issues.

Source Links

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/diabetes-swollen-feet
  2. https://ankleandfootcenters.com/diabetes-swollen-feet/
  3. https://www.modernfootankle.com/resources/foot-care/guides/foods-that-reduce-swelling-in-feet-and-ankles
  4. https://healthcareassociates.com/12-ways-to-stop-feet-swelling-from-diabetes/
  5. https://arizonafootdoctors.com/swollen-feet-and-ankles-diabetes/
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-swollen-feet
  7. https://lifemd.com/learn/the-best-way-to-treat-diabetes-swollen-feet
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3598173/
  9. https://www.signos.com/blog/swollen-feet
  10. https://ankleandfootcenterstn.com/diabetic-foot-swelling/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429175/