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Posts for tag: Charcot Foot

By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
August 18, 2016
Tags: Charcot Foot  

A very serious and debilitating condition, particularly for our diabetic patients is Charcot foot.  While you may have never heard of this disease, we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care want to be sure our patients are informed about Charcot foot and how to spot it in its earliest stages so here are some facts you should know:

  • Charcot foot particularly affects patients who have extensive neuropathy or lack of feeling in their feet. Neuropathy is commonly associated with diabetes that’s why it’s especially concerning to those patients.
  • A patient with Charcot foot experiences a spontaneous fracturing of bones in the foot and ankle and usually a complete arch collapse. Due to decreased sensation in the foot, patients often are unaware that this has occurred and will continue bearing weight on the foot, intensifying the damage and deformity.
  • The change in the shape of the foot can result in excessive pressure on the bottom of the foot which may lead to sores and ulcers, another dangerous condition for diabetic patients.
  • Since pain or soreness may not be detected, patients need to be on the lookout for other symptoms: the foot may feel warm to the touch and also be red and swollen.
  • About a third of patients with this disorder will develop it in both feet. The average age of onset is 40.
  • Nonsurgical treatments are available for Charcot foot. These may include immobilizing the affected foot to prevent further damage and to give bones a chance to heal, bracing the foot, special shoes or inserts to correct the position of the foot and modifying activities to prevent future injury or recurrence of Charcot foot.
  • In severe cases of Charcot foot, surgery may be needed to repair fractures, correct deformity and remove bone fragments.

The most important factor in successful treatment of Charcot foot is early detection. If you are a diabetic patient, you should have regularly scheduled appointments with one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah to check for changes in your feet but daily inspection should be part of your personal care regimen as well. If you have diabetes or another condition that is causing neuropathy in your feet and you have noticed any of the above symptoms, don’t delay: contact our Monmouth Junction, Edison or Monroe office for an appointment.

Charcot foot affects the nerves and blood supply of the foot, these systems are damaged and as a result the bones and joints become weakened and possibly damaged. The foot can become misshapen due to the bones collapsing, and there can be a lack of feeling in the foot due to the nerve damage. The common symptoms to look for include redness, swelling, pain, instability of the joints, loss of feeling and deformity. 

Charcot foot is seen in patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus and sometimes in patients diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. Many times Charcot foot goes undiagnosed because the patient has no feeling in their foot and they don’t notice that anything is wrong. However if you do notice any of the above symptoms it is important to make an appointment with your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ.

When you go to see your podiatrist they will diagnose Charcot foot by taking x-rays and performing function and sensation exams. Sometimes Charcot foot can mimic other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose, however your podiatrist can diagnose it properly if it is caught early! Catching this disease in its early stages is very important to prevent serious injury and damage to the foot.

The most important thing when treating Charcot foot is to stabilize the joints. This can be done by immobilization with a cast or walking boot, crutches to prevent weight bearing and custom shoes and braces can be used. In severe cases surgery may be required to fix the joints and deformities. Surgery can be done to remove excess bone or cartilage; it can also be done to realign different parts of the foot that may have moved from their original position. After surgery immobilization is very important for the foot to heal.

By Nrupa Shah