Crested Gecko Swollen Foot – Causes & Solutions

As hard and adaptable as they are, crested geckos sometimes experience health issues which vary in symptoms, severity, and outcome. Many of them have easy fixes, especially when tackled early on, while others are more problematic. And then you have some conditions, like MBD, that have no cure and usually end up with the gecko dying.

Today, we will discuss a common health problem among crested geckos: the swollen foot syndrome. What are the main causes, and what should you know about the condition and the treatment?

Causes of Swollen Foot in Crested Geckos

Geckos can experience swollen foot for several reasons, such as:

– Injury from Fall Damage

Crested geckos are born climbers, so their terrarium should be vertical rather than horizontal. Geckos love to spend their time elevated and will often relocate and even jump between different spots. This can sometimes lead to accidents, causing the gecko to slip and fall.

Most accidents are mild, given that geckos are resilient and hardy, but some can cause limb and head damage. The situation is even more dangerous if the gecko’s ecosystem is larger than usual, with a lot of vertical space.

Or if your gecko has health issues that cause low energy, low grip strength, and poor body control. Calcium deficiency is most often associated with these problems.

In these cases, not only will your gecko fall but also exhibit a higher risk of limb fractures. If you suspect that your gecko’s swollen foot is because of a fall, consider contacting your vet for an X-ray and proper treatment.

– Calcium Deficiency

Calcium deficiency is common in geckos due to improper diets. Geckos have problems getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D3 from their food, so I recommend supplementing their diets accordingly. Many gecko keepers rely on gut-loaded and dusted feeder insects for that, but you should also discuss the issue with your vet if necessary.

Calcium deficiency causes several symptoms, including lethargy, lack of appetite, swollen and twitching toes, etc. If untreated, the condition can degenerate into Metabolic Bone Disease, which is deadly in advanced stages.

– Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

This condition is every gecko owner’s worst nightmare due to its severity and how fast it progresses. MBD is the result of calcium deficiency or vitamin D3 deficiency, which is pretty much the same thing. The symptoms will become visible early on but will progress fast.

Affected geckos will display soft jaws, wavy tails (floppy tail syndrome), lethargy, low or no appetite, and curved or swollen limbs. The problem with MBD is that it’s deadly in most advanced cases and can lead to a slow and painful death. There’s also no cure, so it’s unlikely that your gecko will ever recover.

Your best chance is to detect the condition in its early phases when it’s easier to combat. You can even hope for full recovery if you manage to diagnose and fix your gecko’s calcium deficiency in time. If not, and the MBD has set in, speak to your vet about your options. Euthanasia may be the best and most humane solution in most cases.

Fortunately, MBD is fairly easy to prevent. Boost your gecko’s calcium and D3 intake and have a UVB lighting source for improved mineral and vitamin absorption. If you think your gecko is showing signs of calcium deficiency, contact your vet immediately. Better safe than sorry.

– Infection

Infections are also common among crested geckos and can occur for a variety of reasons. However, if they’re located in the limbs, it’s most likely a physical injury at play.

Maybe your gecko fell and experienced a cut, or maybe it’s a shedding-related problem that resulted in a localized infection. Either way, you should always assess your gecko’s affected limb to check for infections first before anything else.

That’s because infections are very dangerous and can degenerate fast. An aggressive-enough infection can bring down even the healthiest of geckos in record time. The treatment usually consists of antibiotics based on your vet’s prescription and recommendations.

Keep the reptile’s habitat clean and remove dangerous decorations and objects to prevent infections.

– Improper Shedding

This is a more serious problem than many gecko keepers realize. Geckos shed approximately once every 3-5 weeks as adults, during which they require precise environmental conditions and peace above all else. Unfortunately, problems may arise during the shedding at times. One major issue relates to improper humidity (either too high or too low), causing the gecko to experience incomplete shedding and stuck skin.

The skin generally remains stuck around the legs, toes, tail, or face. When that happens, the patch of old skin cuts the circulation in the area, leading to swelling and, eventually, gangrene. Needless to say, this is a real problem that needs addressing fast.

To prevent it, always keep your gecko’s parameter settings within the optimal range and assess your gecko’s condition after the shedding is complete. I’ve also written an article about shedding-related problems that describe how to approach your gecko’s shedding issues. Be sure to read that as well.

– Bad Genetics

This refers specifically to the reptile’s predisposition to low bone density. Unfortunately, this is a thing among reptiles and geckos, more specifically. Several traits pass on between parents and babies, and bone density is one of them. If your gecko’s parents had bone density problems, expect your gecko to experience them at some point as well.

Unfortunately, these are more difficult to detect in time without looking for them specifically. I say assessing your gecko’s health status professionally just to be sure. Get your gecko to the vet and ask for a bone density scan. Also, have the professional check your gecko’s calcium and D3 needs so you can adjust your reptile’s diet accordingly.

How to Treat Crested Gecko Swollen Foot?

There is no standard treatment for the swollen-foot condition unless you’ve already determined the cause. However, there’s a good mindset to have. If you notice that your gecko has one or several swollen feet, always assume the worst. Contact the vet, explain the problem, and take your pet for a more in-depth diagnosis.

The professional should determine the cause fairly fast. If it’s a mild condition, you lose nothing. Your fast actions could save your gecko’s life if it’s serious. The treatment depends on the disorder’s type and severity. Depending on the case, the vet may prescribe dietary changes, supplementation, antibiotics, or even surgical interventions.


Crested geckos can occasionally struggle with some health issues, so you should always be ready to detect and treat them in time. Fortunately, most of these problems are either environmentally or dietary-related; you can prevent them by providing your gecko with optimal living parameters and proper nutrition.

Geckos may also be genetically predisposed towards certain conditions, in which case sourcing your crested gecko wisely makes all the difference.

avatar William
William is a respected pet enthusiast with expertise in reptiles and birds. With extensive experience caring for these animals, he shares his knowledge through engaging and informative articles in various publications. He is an active member of pet-related organizations, volunteering regularly at shelters and promoting animal welfare and conservation. read more...

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