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What is oedema?

Oedema is a swelling caused by a build-up of fluid in the body. It often affects the feet, ankles and legs but can affect any part of the body. Oedema causes swelling under the skin and can cause stretched or discoloured skin, pain and discomfort, stiff joints, leaking of fluid from the skin, and a general feeling of tightness of heaviness in the area affected. Fluid retention in the lower legs can occur in wheelchair users as gravity encourages blood flow into the legs and because the muscles in the legs and feet are weak, moving this fluid back into the body becomes more difficult.

Oedema or swollen feet, ankles or legs can be caused by:

  • Injuries such as a strain or a sprain
  • An insect bite or sting
  • An infection
  • Illnesses such as cancer, heart failure or kidney failure
  • As a side effect of taking certain medication
  • Not moving for long periods of time
  • A very low level of protein in your blood

Find out more about the causes of oedema on the NHS website.

For people who have oedema in their feet or legs, it can be very difficult to find suitable socks and footwear that does not create pressure. Tight clothing around the feet, ankles or legs can make the oedema worse as anything that restricts the circulation will slow the lymphatic drainage.

Socks and Footwear For Swollen Feet, Ankles and Legs

At Able2 Wear, we have developed a collection of adaptive clothing which helps people who have a variety of conditions, including swollen feet, ankles and legs caused by oedema. Our extra wide fitting oedema socks are very popular with our customers as they are made from a soft material which gently stretches to accommodate swollen ankles, legs and feet without creating pressure on these sensitive areas. The elastic-free and no heel design makes them easy to put on and comfortable to wear as they are non-restrictive socks. Our oedema socks are also very popular with pregnant women who have swollen ankles or swollen feet.

As well as our oedema socks, we also have a selection of extra wide fitting shoes, boots, slippers and sandals for men and women. Our comfortable and non-restrictive footwear all come with easy Velcro fastenings and soft soles to ensure they do not cause pressure on swollen skin.