Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking, the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape, creating a rocker-bottom foot shape.
Charcot foot is a serious condition that can lead to severe deformity, disability, and even amputation. Because of its seriousness, it is important that patients living with diabetes—a disease often associated with neuropathy—take preventive measures and seek immediate care if signs or symptoms appear.
Charcot foot develops as a result of neuropathy, which decreases sensation and the ability to feel temperature, pain, or trauma. Because of diminished sensation, the patient may continue to walk, which makes the injury worse. People with neuropathy are at risk for developing Charcot foot. In addition, neuropathic patients with a tight Achilles tendon have been shown to have a tendency to develop Charcot foot due to increased forces upon the ball of the foot.
The symptoms of Charcot foot may include:
Early diagnosis of Charcot foot is extremely important for successful treatment. To arrive at a diagnosis, the doctor will examine the foot and ankle and ask about events that may have occurred prior to the symptoms. X-rays and other imaging studies such as MRI are performed. Blood tests may be ordered as well. Once treatment begins, x-rays are taken periodically to aid in evaluation of the status of the condition.
In some cases, the Charcot deformity may become severe enough that it requires surgery. The doctor will determine the proper timing and appropriate procedure for each individual case.
The well-informed patient can play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications by following these measures:
If you are suffering from symptoms similar to Charcot Foot, do not hesitate to call us (949) 833-3406 or request an appointment online. Our doctors are well-versed in this condition and can develop an effective treatment course to get you back in action as soon as possible.