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Last Updated on September 14, 2023


Diabetes swollen feet are a common complication that people with diabetes face. It occurs because diabetes can affect a person’s blood circulation and thus cause accumulation of fluid in the lower extremities. Swollen feet could be associated with significant mortality and morbidity depending on the underlying cause.  

Prime Revival Research Institute conducts multiple clinical trials. If you feel you have diabetes, then you may want to look into diabetes clinical trials. We also recommend individuals keep an eye on our upcoming clinical trials. Keep reading this blog to find out more about diabetes swollen feet.

Can Diabetes Cause Swollen Feet?

Over an extended period, high blood glucose levels in diabetics may start affecting different parts of their bodies, including the legs and feet. Edema or swelling is a buildup of fluid in the lower extremities. This excessive fluid can cause pain and limit the mobility of the legs.  

A significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is obesity. Moreover, a high body mass index (BMI) drastically elevates the risk of edema in the legs. An important consideration is that if the swelling is limited to one leg, then it may likely be an indication of a blood clot. A blood clot may cause deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and cause swelling in the lower extremities.  

What are the Causes of Diabetes Swollen Feet?

  • Impaired blood flow:

High blood glucose levels may lead to an increase in the thickness of the arteries. As the arteries begin to thicken, the internal diameter through which the blood flows shrink. Additionally, the walls also lose elasticity. Both of these changes in physiology may impair blood flow to the feet. 

  • Cardiovascular risks:

People who have diabetes are at a much higher risk for developing heart conditions like hypertension, and cardiac conditions, such as congestive heart failure

  • Kidney conditions:

Diabetes is the most common factor leading to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in people. Kidney disease can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate fluid balance which may lead to swelling in the lower extremities

  • Medications:

Medications that are commonly used for treating people with diabetes may include certain blood pressure medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and some medications used to manage nerve pain. All of these may cause diabetes swollen feet

  • Neuropathy:

A persistent high blood glucose level damages the nerves in the lower extremities. This is also known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This could lead to a loss of sensation or numbness, which can make it difficult to notice injuries. A sprain, fracture, or even an infection may also lead to diabetes swollen feet.

As per the National Health Service, additional factors linked to diabetes that could lead to foot swelling encompass: 

  • Being overweight
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Heart-related issues

In uncommon instances, edema might stem from an elevated susceptibility to capillary leakage or, in certain cases, excessive insulin consumption.

What are the Signs of Diabetes Swollen Feet?

In diabetes, one must take good care of one’s feet. A comprehensive foot care regimen can include washing feet daily, wearing well-fitted socks and shoes, and trimming toenails straight across. Daily monitoring of the feet can help with early detection of an emerging problem. Some signs of foot complications include: 

  • Swelling and puffiness in the lower extremities
  • A loss of sensation in the toes, feet, and legs
  • A tingling or burning sensation in your feet
  • Pitting edematous skin; that is, the skin stays dimpled for several seconds after pressing or applying pressure to it 
  • Aching limbs
  • Stiff joints
  • Non-healing cuts, sores, or blisters on the feet
  • A change in the skin color of the feet
  • Excessively dry feet, which may be include peeling or cracking
  • Corns and calluses
  • Fungal infections like athlete’s foot
  • Ingrown or thickened toenails

Treatment for Diabetes Swollen Feet

If you are experiencing swelling in your feet, there are several things you can do to alleviate edema. Treatment options vary depending on what is causing the swelling. Some ways to reduce swelling are: 

  • Compression Socks

Compression socks are recommended for individuals with foot swelling, as long as significant arterial disease isn’t present. These socks can put pressure on the feet and lower legs helping blood to flow effectively. They can be obtained over-the-counter or through a prescription.  

  • Elevating Feet

Elevating feet above the level of the heart can be effective in reducing swelling. This improves circulation and blood flow towards and away from the legs. Pillows or stools can also help elevate the feet while one is sitting. 

  • Lowering Salt Intake

A high-salt diet contributes to water retention in the body. By reducing salt intake, you can help minimize fluid buildup and water retention. Foods like chips, biscuits, canned goods, or pizza usually have high salt content.

  • Medication

A lot of times, medications may be necessary to reduce swelling. Many individuals with diabetes swollen feet due to fluid overload may require a diuretic, commonly referred to as a ‘water pill’. A healthcare provider will determine if this approach will be beneficial. 

How Do You Stop Diabetic Feet from Swelling?

Some steps which we can take to prevent diabetes swollen feet may include: 

  • Weight Loss: Lifestyle changes that encourage weight loss help manage diabetes and prevent edema at the same time. 
  • Exercise: Physical exercise can aid in weight loss as well as improve blood circulation to the lower body. 
  • Proper Diet: A person’s diet affects their overall health. Eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein can help you get the nutrients to help your body stay healthy. 
  • Limit Sedentary Time: Long-term sittings, such as travel can lead to swelling in the lower extremities. 


While diabetes swollen feet may easily go unnoticed, it is important to look out for abnormalities in the legs. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), to slow down or prevent diabetes swollen feet, it is essential to optimize glucose control. The ADA also recommends an annual foot examination to check for changes such as calluses. 

Prime Revival Research Institute regularly conducts diabetes clinical trials that may be able to help individuals with diabetes who are prone to experiencing diabetes swollen feet. One may also want to explore our different locations in Texas. 

Dr. Hamza Nadeem

Dr. Muhammad Hamza Nadeem currently works as a Patient Recruitment Associate. He has a firm grip on the medical research process and patient safety in clinical trials. His experience in writing combined with an academic background in medical science makes him well-suited to assist individuals in clinical trial participation.

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