Homeless Health Concerns – Edema

One of telltales signs of a homeless person-particularly one who sleeps rough (outside, rather than in their vehicle) is edema or swelling feet.  It’s very ugly and can be painful.  Homeless people aren’t the only ones to get it, of course but when taken together with other signs and symptoms it can make things pretty obvious.

There can be many reasons for the onset of edema but being on your feet all day can certainly exacerbate the problem.  Did you know that some people even sleep upright all night at bus stops?  This is so bad for a human being.  People should be able to lie down somewhere!  Also, cutting down on salt intake is important but many homeless people just eat free food…and it’s not always low in salt.

Obviously, you don’t want to be homeless if you can help it BUT if you see things headed in that direction, try to shore up your vehicle so you can get your feet up at night and perhaps get to a job and the grocery store.  Homelessness can really cause a downward spiral that can be hard to pull out of.

If you are newly homeless or might be homeless soon, please contact me in the comments or from my “send an email” page.

Morning and Evening Feet
hopeandmegan / Foter / CC BY-NC

About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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8 Responses to Homeless Health Concerns – Edema

  1. Lynn says:

    Maybe people could get some compression stockings, that would help with the edema and keep their feet warm too. If they could get the funds.

  2. Lucy says:

    Elevating your feet for 1/2 hour – if possible – a couple of times a day can help.

  3. Susan says:

    Edema can be an early warning sign of several treatable health conditions. Best to get it checked first by a doctor.

  4. Robin says:

    I’m homeless. I serve, bartend and then sleep in a thin mat. At times, I work up to seventy hours a week And have a twelve hour day or longer. I have to wear orthopedic shoes now (dansko brand). My edema shows in my gut, hands, around my eyes, my legs and especially my feet. Massaging the edema works. I upped my water intake (carry hot water everywhere with me) which helps. Leaning against the wall at a thirty degree angle pushing the single foot up (as though forcing the calf) and counting backwards from 30 for each leg four or five times helps. Sleep in a real bed, change of shoes, clothes, smaller backpack or purse helps. Repeated stress on the same area hurts. Definitely DOUBLE your water intake and take extra vitamins. It’s helped.

    • Maureen, Living in a Van says:

      Hi Robin. Wow! You work so much. It is shocking to me that you are homeless even with working so much. If I may ask…do you have a lot of bills? Please don’t think I’m criticizing you. I hope you are not trying to pay off hospital bills. I know they are a killer of finances for a lot of people!

      I will try the advice you gave me. I know drinking water helps a lot. I wish I could do better at remembering!

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