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Alert! Foot/Ankle Swelling And Edema Can Cause Serious Sepsis; Know This

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2023. For the original video go to

Brad: All right, there are conditions in the foot related to swelling, edema, and skincare that can lead to sepsis and infection throughout the whole body. I know this from personal experience as well as professional.

Mike: The good news is that this is easily preventable and we will show you what you need to know.

Brad: If you have chronic swelling in your ankles, and you're concerned about it, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor, and have it properly assessed. Make sure it gets treated properly. The doctor will guide you.

Mike: And if you've already seen the doctor, you need to make sure they're monitoring the amount of swelling you're having and the skin appearance as well.

Brad: That's right. The doctor will have mentioned this but we're here to help remind you of things you want to avoid. Okay, so this is something you'll really want to watch out for. Personally, I've had experience with this, not through me but through my mother. She has chronic swelling in her ankles. She had dry skin and it was actually flaking. Now, what can happen, I was not aware of this, with dry skin, flaky skin, and tender skin, and especially if you're older, infection or bacteria can get through the skin even if there's not a visual opening. The dry skin has micro-cracks in it, if you will and that's how the infection can get in and cause sepsis, or in other words an infection in your blood throughout your system. Okay, so I'd like to let you see an actual picture of what this looks like. Now, if you have not seen visually, in pictures, or in life what a swollen edematous leg looks like that's dry and maybe reddish, it's not something that is really pretty to look at but it's the way it is. And if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. So look at the dry skin in this photograph. That is where you have to have that addressed.

Brad: So at that point, you are going to call the doctor, talk to the doctor's nurse, and find out what kind of lotion to put on it to eliminate the dry skin. Typically, they're going to say, at least in my experience, just put any type of lotion on it that's going to eliminate that dry skin. It should not have perfume in it. It should have no other chemicals or additives. I just use Eucerin. Vaseline works, or anything like that. I've talked to nurses who work with this regularly. They have similar advice. Okay, so after you've seen the doctor and the doctor looks it over, one of the very common treatments is to use compression garments. Now what that means is either a sock like we have on Mike here.

Brad: Now, these have actually specific compression, typically 15 to 20 millimeters at the toes. And that actually gets less up to 20 to 30 millimeters around the calf. Listen to what your doctor prescribes, and buy the proper ones. Something that's actually more often prescribed particularly if you're elderly, is Tubigrips. The reason they call it Tubigrip is because it's a sock that comes in a long tube, it's all rolled up. You cut it the proper length. It goes from the toes all the way up, just below the knee.

Brad: Now what you really absolutely need to do is keep your ankles and feet clean and dry and then moisturize the skin. So every day you're going to moisturize it with a lotion like we talked about or prescribed by your doctor. And what I have found is if you wear shoes all day, now sometimes people will put a stocking over the foot because what happens when you put your shoes on is it gets caught and rolled up because of the shoe. So if you put a stocking, a short stocking over the foot you don't get that roll effect. But what happens is the feet can become very sweaty and it's not a good thing. A lot of bacteria can form in there. So every day, new socks, take the old ones off, and wash them by hand. If you're using compression socks, you can wash them in the machine or however is recommended. Every day do that. Now, in the other case, look at the shoe and put your hand in the shoe. Some people perspire so much that the shoe actually becomes damp and the insert will become damp. Very, very good environment for bacteria and other things to form causing infection. So actually, we're doing this with my mother right now. We have two pairs of shoes. I put her shoes on a shoe dryer and every week that pair dries out. And then I put the other pair on and we alternate shoes. She puts on clean socks and clean compression garments every day. And you're going to have much better luck. I am amazed at how much better her legs look now that we're really maintaining this. Mike, you've seen this before in the clinic.

Mike: I have seen it a lot. I would suggest if you have the socks you're going to want to get two or three pairs because you're going to alternate them every day. And oftentimes, if your edema is to the weeping point where fluid is coming out, you're going to really need to keep up on cleaning them.

Brad: Right. And definitely be in contact with your doctor regularly. These compression socks actually are kind of hard to get on and off. The Tubigrips are much easier, easier to clean and they're cheaper as well. But that's up to you.

Brad: If you happen to be diabetic that adds a whole other complication because it's very, very critical that you do not have anything rolling up with your feet. Make sure your shoes are very clear and clean inside. Definitely, you're going to need to see a professional, a therapist, or the doctor, the doctor's nurse and have you go through this in more detail because diabetes and foot problems go together.

Mike: If any of this helped or you have any other suggestions, if you personally have edema, feel free to leave a comment down below and let us know what you think.

Brad: That's right. Or any other suggestions for other people looking at the replies. We can all help each other by chatting back and forth. It works out very well. All right. Very good. Be careful. Be safe.

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