Swollen Feet

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Nov 15, 2007
Loved one DX
Hi everybody, I was wondering if anybody ever had swollen feet, my father who was diagnosed last year is now not able to walk very far (15 - 20 steps with a walker), but in the last week his feet have swollen a lot, our neurologist suggested a tensor sock for his feet, I was just wondering if anybody had any other suggestions?

If it's due to edema (fluid retention), which it sounds like it is if the doc is saying to wear tighter socs, diuretics will help. However, I'm not sure if they are recommended for ALS patients, so check with his doctor. Also, try elevating his feet. This should help the fluid from his feet move back to the rest of the body. Also, do you notice that the swelling is better in the morning? This is usually common, so it may be better if he walks in the morning before his feet swell too much. Keep in mind that edema does not usually hurt, so if the swelling in his feet is painful, it may be something else!

Hope this helps,
Student Nurse
Hi Doug,

The best remeady I found for swollen feet was to give a foot rub with lots of lotion. Linda used to say it was the highlight of her day.
Usually, after I'd finish with her range of motion stretches, I'd either warm up the lotion in the microwave or get it from the sink of cold water (depending on the time of year) and give her a 15-30 minute foot and lower leg massage. Not only did it feel wonderful
(her words) it helped to keep the circulation flowing and also helped keep her toes and feet from curling in or under. This worked well for her hands too.

Also, whenever possible we'd prop her feet up to let gravity help us. In the car we would keep a pillow to lay across the dashboard so she could ride with her feet up. At the movies I'd transfer her to the handicap seat and use her small sports wheelchair to prop her feet up while we munched popcorn & enjoyed the show. Sometimes while out shopping we'd take a break with her feet propped up on my knees for 10 minutes while we shared an ice cream.

I am not sure that last paragraph is of any help to you but I sure have enjoyed remembering how she fought hard to continue doing "normal" things and, as she so often said "ALS BE DAMNED"!
Hi Doug,
We've found the same things work for my husband - he absolutely loves a foot massage! One thing that the OT recommended was to make sure when massaging that we rubbed the feet upwards towards the knees - it really helps get rid of the swelling. As well, stretching his lower limbs really helps too - the OT gave us a bunch of exercises to do a couple of times a day for his legs and feet - makes a HUGE difference in the swelling and his comfort level. I think he enjoys us fussin' over him too!
Sorry about your father. My PALS husband also has alot of swelling in his right foot/ankle and some in his left. In NMD patients it's caused by lack of muscle action in the legs. He should keep his foot elevated, but not in a recliner, unless the head is also put back. It's very bad to have the 90 degree angle that just elevating the foot would give and it's also very detrimental to put pressure on the calf as recliners can sometimes do. Ideally, he should lie down in bed.
Here is a link to an article about swelling of the feet and legs written by Diane Huberty who is an RN with ALS:


Hope you find some relief and solutions.
All the best,
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