What Causes Swollen Legs?
Swollen in the legs is known as edema. Edema occurs when fluid builds up in the feet and legs. It leaks out from small blood vessels into the surrounding tissues. Gravity pulls this fluid downward, and sometimes the body isn’t able to process it. This can be due to the heart, liver or kidneys not working as well as they should. Certain medications, eating salty foods, and standing or sitting still with feet on the floor can make it worse.
What’s the Problem with Swollen Legs?
Besides being downright uncomfortable, edema can restrict your range of motion, making it more difficult to walk. Edema stretches the skin, which can cause discomfort, itching and a higher risk for infection or skin ulcers.
What can Seniors do About Swollen Legs?
There are different causes of edema, and it’s important to know which is causing yours to know how to treat it. For example, limiting salt in your diet, or wearing compression hose, may or may not be a good idea.
Talk to the Doc
If you notice that your legs are swollen, be sure to bring it to your doctor’s attention – especially if you gently push on the swollen area for 15 seconds and a pit remains. The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the swelling. These medications may increase urination and the risk of dehydration.
Be sure to notify the doctor right away of any breathing difficulties or chest pain, which can indicate there is fluid building up in the lungs as well.
Put Your Feet up
Elevate your feet on a footstool or recliner throughout the day (higher than heart level, ideally) to give them a break from the gravity.
Staying active can help your body pump the fluid back to where it belongs. Talk to the doctor about exercises that may help your body specifically.
Compression hose are often recommended to help prevent fluid from collecting in the feet and ankles.
How can Elderly Care Help Seniors with Swollen Legs?
Help with Those Tight Stockings
Even seniors who can dress themselves may find that putting tight compression hose on or taking them off can be a monumental challenge – especially if there is any arthritis in the hands. Elderly care aides can assist with this task. Many seniors pair this service with a daily foot check, to ensure any potential skin problems are noted and stopped before they become a major concern.
Daily Foot Care and Check
Essential for healing, good circulation is usually lacking in swollen feet, putting them at serious risk for injuries. An ingrown toenail, a tiny skin tear from a stubbed toe, or a blister from rubbing against shoes (which is especially easy to do with swollen feet) can fail to heal. Sores like these can become a large, serious wound in a surprisingly short amount of time. This is especially dangerous for diabetics, people with nerve damage, or those who have lost feeling in their feet. Each day, gently wash, thoroughly dry and visually inspect the feet. This is a challenge for many seniors due to impaired vision or flexibility, so elderly care aides can really come in handy.
Walks and Exercise Encouragement
Regular walking and exercises as prescribed by the doctor or physical therapist can be effective tools for promoting circulation. Elder care aides can help seniors accomplish these tasks safety.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elderly Care in Olney, MD please contact the caring staff at Just Divine Home Care Agency today at (301) 219-1585.