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


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.

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Many suggestion here are helpful. Have you already considered taking pressure off her feet with the use of a rollator walker/transport chair combo like this one (randomly searched on youtube):


Accommodating her swelling can go a long way to relieving her pain. Perhaps, more use of the walker/transport chair --- and then as her pain becomes more controlled, accommodate by increased the amount of movement activities.

Secondly, comfortable shoes that accommodate the swelling might help as well.

Lastly, perhaps a trial respite stay in a retirement home with the accommodating devices can be beneficial. A well-structured routine in a caring and empathetic setting could go a long way in relieving some of your loved one's anxiety and therefore help with the pain as well - and can only help with your stress as well. In Canada, they have two-week trial stays, and some places offer day programs for your loved one to get acquainted.

Being in social settings can often help - as it can take focus away from the painful joints/areas. But also more importantly - having good social settings and surroundings go a long way in improving quality of life. Hard conversations to have perhaps - but big benefits in the end.

Much to consider. All the best to you and your loved one.
Helpful Answer (1)

I would offer the same advice on elevating her legs. I believe the desired angle is that the legs are elevated above the level of the heart.

I've also found relief by eating foods high in quercetin. livestrong/article/19332-benefits-quercetin/. Raspberries, cherries and blueberries work the best for me. See the second paragraph, "Anti-inflammatory properties".

I wouldn't even consider supplements as quercetin is found in so many healthy foods: livestrong/article/301326-foods-with-the-highest-content-of-quercetin/

Another anti-inflammatory is resveratrol:

If you research resveratrol, you may find articles which dispute its effects, so I'll just mention this even though I think there's far more evidence that it does have positive properties: This was also a small study as well.

Celery is high in Vitamin K, and has other positive effects as well: (a) NSAID like pain reliever (b) diuretic

medicalnewstodayarticles/270678.php. Note that it can cause anaphylactic shock in someone who's allergic to it, so that should be a consideration and determined before taking it. I can most certainly testify to the diuretic effects. Just don't eat that much in the evening!

There are some considerations to be aware of:

As to exercising, in addition to ankle pumping, there's also stationery bike riding. You might have seen the stationery arm or leg exercisers in PT departments. This is a less high tech but effective stationery cycle which can be used at home and costs a fraction of the heavier duty machines:

My father uses it to strengthen his legs; it's helped him, and it's an alternative to going out for therapy.
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Thank you for the info on AZO. She had tried that supplement but d/c it since it didn't help her at all with incontinence issues. She is doing much better with the discolorations but now both feet are swollen, so they did EKG and echography, but her heart function is normal for her age. She just needs much more exercise! Wish I could check her into rehab center for 6 wks, but Medicare only pays that if they are inpatient hospital (not observation).
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See online: rare side effect of AZO is blue/purplish skin.
AZO can adversely interact with other drugs, including vitamins.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician or pharmacist, this is not medical advice, just a referal to look it up, ask your doctor. Hope something is helpful to you.
I would have her checked, really checked (not just a dipstick), for a UTI.
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we went to doctor again (again!) today and they did put a different compression device on there. we go to another doctor tomorrow for another reason.....
in the meantime, I read that a lack of Vitamin K can lead to weak veins, so I am looking for a supplement--there's no way she could eat boiled collard greens.
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My father in law had swelling in his lower legs and feet, and great discoloration of his feet and lower legs. He has no heart or BP issues. The valves in his veins are weak, causing the blood to pool. Since he began wearing compression stockings, exercising more, and elevating his legs, his pain, discoloration, and swelling have greatly reduced. Sometimes his extremeties stay a healthy color for days when he does all of the aforementioned.
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A change in diet can alleviate some arthritis pain. The change: stop eating everything from the nightshade family. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers. There are others but these are the most common. Helped my mother's pain.

My mom's feet get swollen if she sits too much in a wheelchair without elevating her legs. I have not seen them turn ourple, though, and that is worrisome!

Good luck!
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I have varicose veins and I have elevated my feet above my heart every morning for 15 minutes or so for the last several years. Something my mom told me to do 40 some years ago. (But does not remember anything like That). It is quite a help, but must be done consistently!
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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.
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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:

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.
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