Arthritic feet swollen and discolored, doctors are no help. Advice?

Asked by

Mom is in severe pain from arthritic feet & ankles. Both L.& R swell thru the day. One side is very purple by the early afternoon. She has flat feet, so podiatrist has her in orthopedic shoes all the time (even in the house which mom hates). Recently one foot worse so she is in a compression boot. That lower leg now has several purplish areas as well as back of heel, so we went to regular doctor who said quit the boot. That doc also prescribed Tylenol alternating with Aleve, says is OK for her to take Aleve since her kidney function is fine. After almost 2 wks, swelling persists, pain still wakes her at night, and she doesn't want to go out to the store or beauty shop. I am worried she is not getting enough exercise, and stuck in a vicious cycle. Anybody have a similar situation, resolved in a positive way? If not I'm afraid she is headed to facility care, I can't give her all the help she needs all day into evening. And she HURTS so bad.

Answers 1 to 10 of 18
Does she have congestive heart failure? It can be accompanied by swelling and pain in the ankles and calves. When was her last EKG?
Mom has CHF and has swelling in legs and ankles. There are times when her feet and toes get a purplish look...I have her start wiggling those toes and doing ankle pumps which actually helps the circulation. Mom usually goes barefoot so I can see the color change. She has Rinauds in her hands...it seems like it must be related.
We elevate and do exercises...and take alternating tylenol and advil.
She takes lasix for fluid but we need to watch the amount.
Have your mom see a cardiologist and get checked out. also if her blood sugar is a problem...diabetic clinics or docs would have good solutions. good luck with increasing the circulation without increasing the pain.
Her heart is really good. BP today 110/90, for 90+ y.o. that is good. She had a heart echo graph a couple yrs ago in ER (very dizzy) which showed absolutely no blockages, very good heart for age. She has no diabetes (last checked Sept 2014). No health issues at all, except takes synthroid, BP med, and now the Tylenol-Codeine and Aleve. And vitamins. I also got her AZO (for incontinence) and that is pumpkin seed/soy germ extract. Doctor said not a DVT. Also said not an infection. But I. cannot believe there is nothing more she can do, but pop pain pills. I have been doing Epsom salt foot baths, and we do coconut oil before a fresh pair of diabetic socks at bedtime . I am running over to her house 3-4 x per day and feeling stressed. Maybe she needs to go to a facility for a week, I have one in mind.....maybe she would like it and stay......it can even walk there in good weather.
The diabetic socks are used only because her ankles are so swollen (she is not diabetic).
I'm trusting that someone did an xray to rule out a break in a little bone. Does mom elevate her feet when she sits down?
Does mom move her feet a lot in her sleep? My mom does, and one of the visiting nurses chatted with the neurologist and they put her on a low does of mirapex (actually a parkinson's drug that can be used for restless legs) and it decreased the foot and ankle pains. But they still get dusky purplish colored if she does not move them enough. I wonder if shoes all the time is really a good thing?
Another thought ... has she been on the same BP med for a while? Some of them can cause issues with leg and foot pain. we had to switch a couple of times.
I did bring her to Urgent care once again, because the purplish areas were about twice as big yesterday. They thought she must have fallen or something fell on her, but I was there and that didn't happen. They xrayed, no fracture. Just moderate degenerative arthritis. Sigh. Nobody has any answers, just weak pain pills.
I will have to ask about the BP med, it has been same one for several years. Thanks for the tip. She doesn't get much exercise, because she is in pain, and somewhat frail. She used to like going to the mall, but it's been months.
Does your mom elevate her feet when she's not walking? I'd recommend that and also consider turmeric, which has helped with arthritic inflammation. Here's a link from The Arthritis Foundation:

http://www.arthritistoday.org/arthritis-treatment/natural-and-alternative-treatments/supplements-and-herbs/supplement-guide/turmeric.php

I'd also get her to walk as much as possible, even though that seem counter-intuitive. But activity is good for arthritis, so if she's sitting a lot, her pain will be worse from stiffness and disuse.
I have had some swelling in feet and ankles. My massage therapist recommended using some peppermint oil (just a few drops) mixed with some Vitamin E lotion or and kind of oil...sesame, olive etc. Elevate the legs above the heart on pillows.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support