Swelling in the ankles, feet and legs is a common problem in the elderly. It is very important to pay special attention to this condition, as it can mean serious health problems.
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Causes of swollen feet and legs
Many seniors experience painless swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs. This is usually caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluids in the area or poor blood circulation.
Circulation problems lead to blood not flowing properly and accumulating in the lower extremities, causing swelling and increasing the possibility of a heart attack.
At a certain age, the lymphatic system also loses its faculties, which can cause fluid retention in the lower body and in the abdominal area.
Swelling of the feet and legs in the elderly: Why?
It is common for leg swelling to occur in older people, since they usually meet the main causes of this:
- Venous insufficiency due to advanced age
- Kidney, heart, or liver disease
- Use of certain medications such as antidepressants or blood pressure regulators
- Bad nutrition
- Sedentary life
- Habitual and acute constipation
Meaning of swollen feet and legs in older people
Swelling in the lower extremities can be an important indicator of serious health problems for our elders. It is very important to consult the doctor when we observe this condition in the patient.
Main symptoms of swollen legs in the elderly
Swelling in the feet and legs is a condition that affects the well-being of the elderly and prevents them from carrying out normal day-to-day tasks.
The main symptoms associated with swollen legs syndrome are:
- Swelling in the lower extremities: ankles, knees, feet and legs
- Swelling increases late in the day
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Feeling of heaviness
- Itching, tingling, and leg cramps
- Appearance of varicose veins
- Red and tender legs
Care to avoid swollen legs in the elderly
If we help the elderly to adopt a series of healthy habits we can reduce the effects of swelling in the lower extremities:
- Don’t cross your legs
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing
- Avoid tight clothing
- Sleep resting your feet on a cushion
- Avoid direct heat to the lower extremities
- When it is inevitable that the patient spends a long time sitting, we must place their legs up or on a footrest
- When sitting, it is very important to move your ankles and toes from time to time.
- Shower the patient with lukewarm water and finish with water that is colder than normal, starting at the ankle and ending with the thigh (repeat several times)
At the end of the day, apply a massage from the feet to the thighs with a cold gel and exerting slight pressure to promote blood flow
Tips for caring for older people with swollen legs
Diet and physical exercise play a very important role in our state of health. Older people who suffer from swelling in the lower extremities must take good care of their diet and perform a minimum of physical activity, in order to reduce fluid retention and avoid poor blood circulation.
Nutritional tips for swelling legs in the elderly
- Increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain rice, pasta and bread, in order to promote intestinal transit and avoid constipation
- Avoid salt in excess
- Avoid cooking fried
- Use spices and aromatic herbs to enrich the flavor of dishes
- Avoid cold cuts, pre-cooked dishes, fatty cheeses, bouillon cubes, bagged potatoes
- Increase the consumption of asparagus, artichoke, pineapple or endive
- Drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water a day
- Increase the consumption of legumes, wheat germ, natural nuts, bananas, among other foods with potassium
Physical exercise for swelling legs in older people
Swimming, cycling, yoga, and Pilates are physical activities that help prevent swelling in the lower extremities. Still, we must always be aware of the physical possibilities of the patient.
A simple walk at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day can be very favorable to avoid fluid retention and improve blood circulation. It is crucial to avoid sports that involve standing for a long time and without moving (golf, ping pong …)
We can also find exercises with less intensity to alleviate the condition of swelling in the feet, ankles and legs:
- Walk changing the point of support; from toes to heels
- Move the legs as if the patient were on a bicycle while sitting
- Do squats (if there are no knee problems)
Burning feet syndrome
Grierson-Gopalan syndrome or burning feet causes an intense sensation of heat, tingling or stinging in these extremities, especially at night. Know its causes and the most indicated treatment to alleviate it.
Having hot feet at night may seem like a banality, but those who suffer from Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, popularly known as burning feet syndrome, know well that it is something very serious. In these people, the burning sensation on the soles of the feet is such that it prevents them from sleeping, and the patient is forced to get them out of bed and put them on the cold floor to experience some relief. Sometimes, in addition to experiencing that fire, you may also notice a nagging sensation of pricks or needles digging into your feet.
Symptoms of burning feet syndrome
One of the peculiarities of this disorder is that the symptoms are that it gets worse at night and usually improve during the day. Its most common manifestations are:
Feeling of heat or burning in the feet
Usually, it is perceived only on the soles of the feet, but it can also be noticed on the back, ankles and on the back of the leg.
Some patients describe a “tingling or ‘needle stick’ sensation in the lower extremities,” he explains.
Causes of burning sensation in feet
The causes of this condition are various, although its origin is often unknown. It can occur as an isolated symptom, or as part of a group of symptoms associated with different pathologies, although it is usually related to one of these problems:
Lack of B vitamins
It has been attributed to deficiencies in different vitamins, especially riboflavin (vitamin B2), but also nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), thiamine (vitamin B1) and pyridoxine (B6). The doctor explains that the lack of these group B vitamins leads to alterations in the cellular metabolism of the tissues, which can cause abnormal and excessive stimulation, or decrease the pain threshold of the peripheral nerve.
Burning feet syndrome is thought to be the initial stage of neuropathy that manifests itself when vitamin B12 is deficient, before neurological symptoms appear.
Poor absorption of nutrients
Some diseases cause the malabsorption of these nutrients in the small intestine, such as chronic alcoholism, malabsorption syndrome, or malnutrition.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
The posterior tibial nerve passes through an area near the heel and the sole of the foot, called the tarsal tunnel. When that nerve is compressed, due to inflammation or other causes, it can cause a burning sensation, tingling.
Here at Happy Feet Pedorthics we can help you find the best option for you, we’ll assist you in the selection of shoes for your daily routine.