Two of my patients, one with diabetes and kidney failure, and the other with kidney failure passed away this year. It is really sad to hear of the transitioning of patients, and both were on dialysis. Kidney disease is not an easy battle; add diabetes, and it makes matters worse. You can become burdened with going to dialysis 2-3 times weekly, which tends to result in edema or swelling in the feet, which become heavy and uncomfortable. One of my patients had marks popping up on the feet, whilst another developed an ulcer on a toe. The skin could become dry and form cracks, challenges that mount, leading to more stress.

Kidneys are responsible for keeping the body healthy and functioning. They help remove excess fluid from the body, clear out waste, and distributes oxygen-rich red blood cells. A disease or disorder of the kidneys can quickly throw you off balance. A frequent early symptom of a kidney disorder, is swollen feet.

Other symptoms of kidney disorder

These include:

• Fatigue

• Anaemia

• Increased urination

• Discoloured urine

• Nausea

• Cold sensitivity

• Itchy skin

• Clouded thoughts

If you have these symptoms, you need to see your doctor for blood and urine tests. These tests are the most accurate way to confirm a kidney disease diagnosis. Without treatment, kidney disease will lead to renal failure and death.

Dialysis and medications can help to remove waste and fluid buildup from the body. Other symptoms, however, will require other types of management.

Likelihood of developing

kidney disease

Kidney disease can cause a lot of health problems throughout the body.

Everyone has two kidneys. If one begins to fail, the other will keep working and the symptoms may not be immediately obvious. Frequent exams are necessary for those with a higher risk. Persons most at risk include individuals over 60, along with those with a family history of kidney problems.

It’s important to note though, that kidney diseases can occur at any age, and within any race. In fact, almost one-third of all Americans will develop some type of kidney problem within their lifetime. Early diagnosis is the best way to reduce the more severe symptoms. Other common factors are:

• Smoking

• Obesity

• Use of certain medications

Both kidney disease and diabetes cause foot pain and swelling. They share several other major symptoms. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor to ensure you get the right treatment. Some patients with diabetes may develop diabetic kidney disease.

Hepatitis C can cause diabetes and kidney disorders, and hep C infections can cause foot pain among many other symptoms.

Other conditions which can lead to chronic kidney disease include:

• High blood pressure

• Enlarged prostate

• Kidney stones

• Urinary tract infections

• Kidney infections

Swollen foot treatment options for patients with kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease has no known cure, only management of symptoms. Foot swelling is one of the most common symptoms of this disease. The excess fluid is pulled down towards the feet by gravity. Putting your feet up may temporarily relieve symptoms, but you need professional treatment to prevent long-term damage.

Podiatrists have treatment options for patients with swollen feet from kidney disorders. So organise a consultation, and get started on treating your foot swelling problem.

Kidney disease and foot cramps:

Foot cramps and other kidney disease symptoms can limit your mobility.

As indicated earlier, kidneys are supposed to regulate the delivery of protein and oxygen-enriched fluids throughout the body. But muscle cramps occur, when the oxygen, electrolytes, and nutrients needed for functioning, are not received. Patients receiving dialysis treatment report more frequent cramps, especially in their feet and legs. Some cramps can be so debilitating, they affect mobility.

Custom orthotics can provide extra support for your feet, so you can keep moving through muscle cramps. Regular movement of the feet and legs, can cut down on the frequency and severity of cramps.

Kidney disorders and foot ulcers

Foot ulcers are a severe symptom of kidney disorders. An ulcer is an open sore which exposes the foot to the risk of infection. The wound is often unable to heal on its own, without medical intervention. Surgery is sometimes the only treatment option for ulcers.

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

Leana Huntley is a UK trained Podiatrist attached to Almawi Limited The Holistic Clinic, and Clinical Director-Fit Feet, Special Olympics Trindad and Tobago. E-mail or visit the website at


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