Swollen foot after pregnancy

by Julie Oldham

I have suffered with a swollen right foot since being pregnant with my second child 12 years ago. It is swollen on the top of my foot and my toes are too with dry and hard skin on them. My GP diagnosed it as being lymph damage due to the way my baby was laying during pregnancy. I was advised to rest when possible and wear a compression sock. I am 42 years old and would love to be able to fit into nice shoes. Can you help?

Regina writes:

I am sorry to hear about your swollen foot, 12 years is a long time. Has the swelling got worse over this time?

There are treatments for swollen feet. One of them is compression, as suggested by your GP. While wearing compression people are generally advised to exercise, so that the muscles can pump the lymph fluid up the leg. When resting, you need to elevate your leg. Other treatments are compression bandaging and Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), and, of course, skin care.

You could try getting a referral from you GP to your local lymphoedema service, which is based at the QMC in Nottingham. I think there is a waiting list of about 3 months. Alternatively, you could make an appointment with me, but of cause I will have to charge you. We will have an initial assessment, I will give you lots of advice, and then we will probably have some time for treatment. Or you could do both, while you are waiting for your NHS appointment you could see me for a few sessions. You can get compression (including the bandages) on prescription, so that is a route you might want to explore, too.

In order to advise you I need to see you, but from what you are writing I think it will be possible to reduce the swelling of your foot. This is likely to involve wearing compression most of the time and, perhaps at the beginning, a lymphoedema bandage (not as bad as it sounds). MLD and Deep Oscillation will also help.

With warm regards,

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