Posts for category: Charcot Foot

By Ben Gujral
July 13, 2013
Category: Charcot Foot

Unless you have diabetes you have probably never heard of this syndrome before! There is a joint in the foot called Charcot’s joint, it is a weight bearing joint, meaning that when you walk a lot of your body weight goes through this joint; this syndrome develops when this joint degenerates by bone breakdown and eventually results in a deformed joint and foot. Quite frequently this breakdown goes undetected, but how can that be? It sounds so painful! But the breakdown occurs because the person has lost sensation in their foot due to nerves breaking down and not working properly, so essentially the patient cannot feel their foot and consequently can’t feel the pain of the joint breaking down! This is very common in people with diabetes mellitus, it occurs in 1/600-700 patients. Some other common pre-existing conditions that can lead to this include alcoholism, cerebral palsy, syphilis and spinal cord injuries.

Since the patient usually cannot feel pain from the joint breaking down a diagnosis isn’t made until the foot has become severely deformed. In the early stages there may be no pain with a little bit of swelling, but as the break down progresses the swelling increases, pain may develop and skin temperature around the area may increase. At any sign of swelling in the foot it is important go see your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ to have your foot looked at! It is best to catch this break down early to prevent the severe consequences of catching it in late break down. Your podiatrist will take an x-rayof the foot to determine what stage of Charcot foot is present. There are stages 1-4; 1 being the least severe and 4 being the most severe.

If the syndrome is caught early enough the foot will be casted and immobilized to allow the joint to heal, sometimes joint correction surgery will be done, and is normally very successful! However if Charcot foot is caught in the later stages the break down may be too great to repair and amputation may be required. So if you notice any strange changes in your foot go see your podiatrist to get it looked at!

By Varun Gujral