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My Mum's continuous swollen leg.

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
Co.Sligo, Ireland
I've posted on here a few times about my 85 year old mum, who has been in C/H since last Dec. In Feb this year she was very unwell for over a week & I was so worried about her. I was then told she'd had a mini TIA. Thankfully, she recovered well from it & no side effects. She also had a urine infection, at the same time.

In April she had a mark on her leg, kept scratching it, which made it bleed & led to an infection. I was told by the head nurse it was mrsa bug & the GP prescribed antibiotics. Her leg was very swollen with the infection & eventually the swelling went down. As her memory has got worse, she doesn't remember that she shouldn't scratch it & each time it keeps bleeding & getting sore again.

Ever since April her leg keeps getting swollen, as she won't rest it & keeps walking around. Last week she was quite unwell again & her leg was swollen, hard & very hot. She had a temperature, so the nurse told me her leg was infected again & GP gave 2antibiotics together. She said, it was cellulitis & unlikely that it would go completely.
I used to visit my mum every day, when she first went in. Then when she settled, I went 3 times a week & my daughter went at the weekend.

As she was so unwell last week, I've been going in every day since. The GP told her last week, that the best way to help it, is to have bed rest for a few days. Straight away, my mum said I'm not staying in bed, so its a vicious circle. But the antibiotics made her so tired that they did manage to keep her in bed for 2 days. I asked the nurse & GP if she should be in hospital. They both said, she'd be constantly scratching her leg & would be out of her normal environment & her dementia would get worse.
That she would be better off, being looked after in the C/H.

Thankfully, last few days she looks a lot better, but as soon as she started walking again, the leg became swollen. I was so worried about her last week & when I said to her, you were unwell, she said, was I. Very sad that she doesn't remember so many things, its great for her not knowing she was unwell, but the worry & stress is affecting my health.

Yesterday when I was in, I told the nurse her leg was very sore, hard & hot again. The GP called into see her in the eve & has given her antibiotics for 3 more days, as she had finished the last course. That's her 4th lot since April. Does anyone know if cellulitis is connected to mrsa bug? Does it mean that it will never go away completely?


Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
North East
There will be a lot. Physical things going on here with her. Is she scratching out of habit or is it itchy?...is is scabs she is scratching? If so then is she getting any cream/ointment rubbed into her legs??
Here is an idea, 3 times a day she is encourage to be pampered, she has to sit while she has a leg massage with cream being rubbed in. 2 benefits here, she has her legs elevated for a while an the massage will encourage the fluid build up to move and the cream will help to protect her skin integrity. Would she tolerate flight socks? If so see if the GP thinks these would be helpful to prevent the swelling. If so these should be put on as she gets up in the morning.
I do hope some of this helps xxx

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
Co.Sligo, Ireland
I haven't been told if checked for clot / DVT, Sue J.
Just keep telling me it's cellulitis & that it will keep coming back. Especially if my mum keeps scratching her leg.

My mum's scratching her leg, as it gets itchy, Susy. Sometimes there are scabs & she scratches those too. The nurses have used a lot of different creams on it. Then she tucks tissues into her socks, which then stick to her leg & that causes a problem. They tell her not to use tissues & when I go in if she has them there, I also tell her. But she just forgets & puts them in her socks again. So it's so hard for the nurses to deal with.

They've also tried elastic stockings, like flight socks, but she then takes them off, as soon as they leave the room. Other times, they've bandaged her leg. Thank you Susy, for all your advice. I just wish her leg would heal up altogether, but I don't think that will ever happen as her memory is so bad & she can't co-operate with the nurses.


Registered User
Jun 11, 2012
My dad got cellulitis whilst in a care home. If you google it you will see it is very common in places where groups of people live together ( care homes, army barracks, students).
It seems to be hard to get rid of once they have had it once. Might be worth googling to see if there are any natural remedies you could try which might at least reduce the itching.
Would your mum keep it up on a footstool if she is sitting down? Maybe you could ask the home to try Asher with one.


Registered User
Jan 20, 2006
Perhaps wearing some firm support tights might help. Flight socks and compression stockings often are very tight at the top causing them to dig in.

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
Co.Sligo, Ireland
I will look in the health stores for an alternative for cellulitis.

You mentioned using a footstool, betsie. I bought my mum 2, several months ago. One for her room & the 2nd one to use in the dayroom. She forgets to use the one in her room, unless I'm there to remind her. She won't use the 2nd one in the day room, in case someone takes it.

She had wet pyjamas several times, so the nurse suggested she wears pads. I bought her a pretty wicker basket to keep them in, for the bathroom. The basket was empty, I found the full pack in the wardrobe. She thinks someone will steal them. It's so sad, how alzheimers changes the person so much. Yesterday when I went in, my mum opened her handbag & she had 7 pads in there, but wasn't wearing one.

The nurses did suggest to my mum, that her nails need to be shorter, to stop her scratching so much, Susy. She said, I'm not having my nails cut. When I saw her, I explained that it needs to be done & why, then she cut them herself while I was there.

I will suggest to the nurse about support tights, which is a good idea, Barny. She only ever wears trousers, so could get a bit hot wearing both. But at least if she has trousers over them, she won't want to be taking the tights off, hopefully not. Unless I can find her a skirt that will be comfortable for her. I expect Marks & Spencer's would have them, if necessary. Trouble with my mum lately, she refuses to do certain things.

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