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Thread: Swelling in both feet and ankles

  1. #1
    Senior Member Purple Haze's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Southern California

    Swelling in both feet and ankles

    My feet and ankles have always been swollen since sci. They seem to go down a bit when sleeping but swell back up during the day. The swelling is starting to get worse and it's getting real uncomfortable to wear shoes. The shoes are putting alot of pressure around my ankles.

    Also, I am in my chair about seventeen hours a day. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
    Living the Dream, C6/C7 incomplete.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WarrenJ's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Same here same problem told doc about it he looked at me like that was normal. Got an Ultra sound on right leg my right ankle swells. It was receommended I see a vascular doc.

    You on anti-coagulant (coumadin)? Do not want clots.

    Good Luck
    Appreciate the small gains and the large ones will be ignored!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2003
    Northern California
    I have had the same challenge for nearly 21 years. The only thing that I can do, but don't, is to wear those elastic socks. Otherwise, I am also in the chair for 16+ hours a day. At night time, I put 2-3 pillows under my feet and get a pretty good angle going. By morning time, my feet are back to normal and off we go again with the cat+mouse game again.

    As for shoes, I am normally a size 9 1/2 but I got size 11 shoes with 5E width and they perfectly accommodate my swollen feet. Pre-SCI, I used to wear the nicest Italian shoes ... not any more. Hard to find nice ones in size 11/5E but that's the least of my problems.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2009
    New York
    Elevate your legs as often as you can (like on a chair). Also, if you have access to an FES bike or motomed use that to improve the circulation in your legs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Seattle area Wash state

  6. #6
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    in a handbasket
    Check to make sure that there is no pressure on the backs of your knees while in the chair. There should be a little room between the set cushion and the backs of your knees.

    Also, I just moved the adjustable footrest up a couple of notches. It relieved the stress on the backs of my knees and no more swelling.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  7. #7
    I have the same problem for as long as I can remember. Elevating the feet helps as suggested by felieh and lepups3. I elevate my feet almost every night. The swelling around the ankles subsides but there is still swelling on the top of the feet.

    The way the feet is placed on the footrest is a factor too. From my experience, if the feet are tucked in too far back behind the knee, it swells more.

    The other cause of swollen feet and ankles could be kidney problem. It would be good to get a diagnosis to eliminate this as a cause.
    C5-C6 ASIA C - October 15, 1984
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  8. #8

    all correct

    Like everyone has said try to keep your feet elevated, make absolute care to adjust your chair so you don't put any pressure on your legs and cut off circulation and abotu the only thing I can add is that you can also ice your legs or cold packs usage when you have them elevated as well. When you take a break try removing your shoes and laying on the floor and put your feet and legs up on something like a chair or a couch so that gravity will work on sending the fluids back into your body relieving your legs and feet of all that fluid.

  9. #9
    Do you wear the compression hose while up? You should elevate your legs and take the hose off. Swelling goes down, before getting up put the hose back on and then get up.
    It is caused dependent edema.

  10. #10
    Hi Purple Haze

    I have had the same problem (for 40 years) I am up 16 +/- hours a day.

    I sleep with the both feet on pillows that keep the legs flat from the knees to the ankles, I also use regular (not medical) socks that are long, almost to knee.

    The problem is dependent edema. If I have a calm weekend I may spend more time down with the feet up on the pillows to drain more.

    The risk that I have found with the dependent edema is that the feet can get to big and have pressure from a shoe or a wheelchair part. Also the extra edema can make a transfer harder for you have more weight to lift.

    No cure, just steps to manage and keep out of trouble.

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