What is it?
Charcot's foot is the progressive and degenerative weakening of the bones in the foot due to significant nerve damage (neuropathy) which decreases sensation and the ability to feel temperature, pain or trauma because of which the patient may continue to walk—leading to fracture and change in the foot shape to a rocker bottom appearance.
People at high risk are mainly diabetic patients and neuropathic patients with a tight Achilles tendon.
How does it look like?
- The affected foot feels warmer than the other
- There’s pain or soreness along with swelling in that area and redness in the foot
- As the condition progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape that
- Can lead to severe deformity, disability and even amputation
- Early diagnosis is important for the successful treatment of Charcot's foot
What’s the solution?
The treatment aims at protecting the weakened bones and providing them support to heal
- Immobilization: Complete non-weight bearing is necessary to keep the foot from further collapsing and allowing bones to repair. For this patient may have to use a cast, removable boot or brace and stay on crutches or a wheelchair
- Custom shoes and bracing: Shoes with customized orthotics are required to support the healed bones to allow patient to return to daily activities and prevent recurrence of Charcot's foot
- Activity modification: Activity level is modified to avoid repetitive trauma to both feet. A patient with Charcot in one foot is more likely to develop it in the other foot, so measures must be taken to protect both feet
- Surgery: In cases of severe Charcot deformity, surgery is necessary
How to prevent it?
The patient can play an important role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications.
- Keep the blood sugar levels under control to prevent any neuropathy.
- Examine your feet daily for any signs of Charcot's foot.
- Do regular follow-ups with a foot and ankle surgeon.
- Wear closed shoes outdoors to avoid injuries to the foot.
- Get your feet evaluated by a foot surgeon or Podiatrist for long-term treatment and preventive measures.