Elevating legs makes neuropathy worse??

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Elevating legs makes neuropathy worse??

Postby drummer26 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:52 am

Hi everyone,

it's a strange question, but true in my grandfather's case. He had vasculitis and has poor circulation in his legs and although with no official diagnosis of lymphedema, we still leave it as an option since he has edema and it's not going away. He keeps thinking his case is so rare since the cause of edema can't be pinpointed and he suffers from it and the neuropathy all day. He seems to think that leg exercises of any kind are bad since it makes the legs more uncomfortable. Even when elevating his legs he says it feels more uncomfortable. Also when urinating, the legs and feet feel even more intense. Can anyone relate? Does anyone have an explanation or answer?

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Re: Elevating legs makes neuropathy worse??

Postby patoco » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:21 am

Hey Drummer :)

Let me think on this more and do some research.

I would suspect that much of his discomfort is due to the vasculitis, especially when he speaks of the discomfort involved with the standing involved with urinating. When the legs are up and then when someone stands, the blood "rushes" back into the leg. I do know that can be quite uncomfortable.

I really don't have an answer at this point. But it greatly concerns me as such inactivity is really going to complicate the swelling. The lymph moves through our system with two functions.

One function is the micro contractions of the lymph vessels themselves.

The other is through muscle action which pushes the fluid through the body. There is very limited "pumping" when someone leads a very sedentary life style.

It may well be too, that he might be able to work through this discomfort.

In other words, he might want to set up an exercise program that is very gentle and light. Despite the discomfort initally involved, continue the program constently for a couple months and see where that might lead. It may well be worth trying.

If it does continue to cause discomfort, he could always stop the exercises program.

His case really isn't that rare though. There are many people with lymphedema (swelling, edema) for whom they are unable to pinpoint the exact cause.

As I said, I'll keep looking around to see what more specifically I can find. But think about the limited exercise program and see what he thinks.

My best to you both :!: :!: :!:

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Re: Elevating legs makes neuropathy worse??

Postby drummer26 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:46 am

Hi Patoco,

thanks for the quick reply. As for exercise, we are doing a a couple leg exercises on bed. Mainly putting a pillow under the knees, pulling the feet towards the pillow, and then pushing the bottom of the knees into the pillow and trying to lift the feet at the same time. Also trying to do a sit up...well, as best as he can. And also with legs bent, lifting the rear in the air. These three exercises are all done on the bed 2-3 times a day, but with any leg movements, there is discomfort so I think the discomfort is the limiting factor..but he just fights it and does the exercises anyway. When in a wheel chair, he does around 15 minutes of pedaling a small bike. Edema leg skin color is less purple, but edema seems to get worse after the 15 minutes, but that could also be due to gravity. He practices moving around using his arms to control the wheels on the wheel chair. Moving his legs to move the wheel chair is just so uncomfortable. Edema gets worse while sitting in wheelchair or standing on the tilt table, which is understandable since gravity and poor leg circulation are a bad combo. But the overall pattern of his edema seems to be increasing.

Elevating the legs seems to only do so much. I wish I knew MLD to see if that would help. The motions seem easy enough, it's the activating of the lymph nodes that I'm unsure about...and I don't think there is a lymph specialist at our hospital.

I forgot to mention about the urinating, since he has no muscle to stand up on his own, he just urinates in the plastic jug while laying on the bed. So there is no change in leg position or posture. so it really is the act of urinating that sends some force or something towards the feet and toes. Maybe just related to circulation and using strength, just like when you flex or strain, it can cause veins to show in the forehead etc...

Well, I hope the edema can somehow be controlled and decreased. the doctors here are a little stumped as to how to improve the situation. They can only try to keep the situation the way it is, and even that right now is not working.

Well, all I can do right now is keep an eye on things and hope things improve on their own.
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