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Maintaining Healthy Feet


Proper foot care is an extremely important for those with lymphedema of the lower extremities! This article contains information on how to prevent these problems.


Any damage to the skin on your foot may be the opening that bacteria have been waiting for so they can move in and set up housekeeping at your expense!

  •  Keep you feet meticulously clean. This includes washing and drying very carefully between your toes.
  • See your podiatrist, or chiropodist, regularly. Be certain your doctor knows that you have lymphedema and understand the risks it poses.
  • Keep your toenails carefully trimmed. When manicuring your toenails, avoid cutting the cuticles. If this is being done professionally, inform your pedicurist. To learn more about toe nail care, read the article Proper Care of Finger and Toe Nails.
  • Wear clean socks or stockings daily. Also keep you compression garment clean.
  • Check your feet regularly for any signs of infections. If there is any indication of a problem, take action promptly. If you have difficulty doing this, have someone help you with this important preventive care. To learn more about potential infections of the feet, read the article Lymphedema Related Infections.
  • If you are prone to foot infections, ask your therapist if a compression garment with “open toes” might work better for you.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public places! This puts you at risk for injuring your feet and there is the increased danger of being exposed to fungal infections.
  • Always wear properly fitted footwear. Your shoes must fit you properly, provide adequate support, and protect your feet from cuts, bruises, and more serious injuries.


Footwear that does not fit properly, or
protect can cause foot problems. 

This photo is an excellent example of the kind of footwear that you should not be wearing!

These shoes are too small, do not fit properly, do not support the feet adequately, do not protect the feet, and undoubtedly are not comfortable!  

Proper Foot Wear

Saying what NOT to do is easy. Now let’s talk the kind of shoes that you should be wearing.

Properly fitted shoes are a good investment! They can help to prevent foot problems. They also make you more comfortable, increase your mobility, and help you get the exercise that is so important.

Ask you therapist and or foot care specialist for help. Your podiatrist or chiropodist should be able to help you with good advice.

Shop for shoes at the time of the day when your foot is most swollen. For many of us, that is toward the end of the day. Also, if you wear a compression garment be sure to wear it when you are shoe shopping. This is essential because your shoes must accommodate this garment.

Do not compromise on the fit! You need shoes that is the appropriate size (long enough) and the proper width. Lace up or Velcro closure shoes all good flexibility in adjusting the fit of your shoes and your feet change size throughout the day.

Orthotics are special inserts, such as inner soles, that be placed in the shoes to improve your posture and your ability to walk properly. If you wear orthotics, place them in the shoes you are trying on. Orthotics can be custom made to the prescription of your foot doctor, recommended by your qualified shoe fitter, or purchased in the foot care section of your pharmacy.

If necessary, buy two different sizes of shoes. If only one leg is affected by lymphedema, you may find it necessary to buy two different shoe sizes. By searching the Internet for “Odd Size Shoes” you can find special services, such as National Odd Shoe Exchange, Wide Shoes, and Footwise.com aka Birkenstock Express all specialize in accommodating the need to purchase shoes "by the each" (i.e. in different sizes).

Properly fitting athletic shoes are usually your best choice. They have a wide toe box and are designed to provide good foot support and protection. A shoe with mesh top also allows for air flow that helps to keep your feet cool and dry.

Diabetic shoes might solve
your foot problems.

Diabetic shoes might meet your needs. These shoes, which are designed to meet the specialized needs of diabetics, are available in larger and wider sizes, are made of a breathable material, and have a soft lining.

©LymphNotes.com 2011. This information does not replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.

Got a question or comment? Post in the 'Self-Care for Lymphedema' forum.
Category: Self-Care for Lymphedema Updated: 2021-08-27


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