What is foot edema?
• “Foot edema” refers to abnormal buildup of fluid in the ankles, feet, and legs. It is also called “peripheral edema“. This type of edema may be pitting or non-pitting. It is pitting if applying pressure to the skin produces a temporary depression. Pitting edema is the most common type.
▼ Why does foot edema need nurses' attention?
• It is often, though not always, linked to a variety of serious medical conditions.
▼ To what deeper disease conditions might foot edema point?
• Swollen legs may be a sign of heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure.
▼ – What are the available treatment strategies?
• Often simple leg elevation helps. Elevate the legs above the level of the heart three times a day and when sleeping.
Compression stockings may help if edema is due to reduced venous return of blood to the heart. However, the underlying cause needs to be addressed.
Exercise the legs to help with fluid pumping.
• Follow a low-salt diet to help lower fluid buildup.
• MedliePlus. National Institutes of Health. Foot, leg, and ankle swelling. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003104.htm
• Colorado Foot Institute. Edema. http://coloradofootinstitute.com/edema.html
MD India. Ankle Edema / Ankle Swelling. http://www.medindia.net/symptoms/ankle-edema.htm
• Chao CY1, Zheng YP, Cheing GL. The association between skin blood flow and edema on epidermal thickness in the diabetic foot. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Jul;14(7):602-9. doi: 10.1089/dia.2011.0301. Epub 2012 Apr 18 ( Abstract retrieved at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22512286 )
• Welsh JR, Arzouman JM, Holm K. Nurses' assessment and documentation of peripheral edema. Clin Nurse Spec. 1996 Jan;10(1):7-10. (Abstract retrieved at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8705940
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About Foot Swelling (Foot Edema)
A Help Note for Nurses
by Foot Care Academy
© 2014 by Foot Care Academy, all rights reserved