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CHARCOT FOOT

Did you know that an average of 2.5 percent of patients with diabetes are at higher risk of developing Charcot foot?

What Is Charcot Foot?

Charcot foot is a condition that has been known to interfere with the normal functioning of the bones, joints, and ankle. It’s common in people who have neuropathy- a condition that severely damages the nerves. During the early period of Charcot foot, you will experience continuous inflammation in the foot.

Patients who suffer from charcoal foot may experience varying degrees of bone destruction, dislocation, and deformity. As the condition aggravates, you may experience difficulty in walking, and finally, have the midfoot collapse.

You are advised, as a diabetic patient, to seek medical attention as soon as you notice any sign or symptom. This disease is heavily linked to neuropathy and may cause different levels of pain at the acute stage.

Causes of Charcot Foot

If your foot and ankle can no longer sense even the most severe injuries, chances are that you may have developed a condition known as Charcot arthropathy. The inability to sense injuries will possibly lead to significant deformities to the foot.

Charcot foot will only develop where there is nerve damage or failure. Diabetic patients therefore must be very wary of any signs on the ankles. This is because type 2 diabetes is a major cause of neuropathy.

Some of the most common neuropathy in feet symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness in the foot
  • Minimal balance
  • Inflammation in affected areas

Other causes include:

  • Excessive alcohol or drug abuse
  • Spinal cord injury
  • HIV
  • General infections

Symptoms

Patients with Charcot foot are unlikely to experience any serious pain. You will experience other related symptoms though

  • Significant swelling of the foot may come up without any serious injury. If you had shoes that previously fitted you well, chances are that you might not need them for some time.
  • Inflammation of the foot which is a direct response to the redness and swelling of the foot.
  • A diabetic patient with newly swollen foot may be diagnosed with Charcot foot. Our medical providers advise that in the case of a Charcot foot, the swelling and redness should improve after some time. That is not the case with an infection.
  • Discoloration of the foot
  • The foot assumes a totally different shape

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Charcot foot may not be as straightforward as many patients may tend to imagine. It becomes difficult to know whether you have Charcot because most imaging tests don’t show Charcot foot in its early stages.

Your doctor, in most cases, will diagnose Charcot foot by just examining physically. You can also expect to be asked, about any symptoms and your medical history.

During the physical assessment. The doctor will check for the following conditions:

  • Defects on the foot
  • Ulcers
  • Inability to sense injuries
  • Anomaly with blood flow

In cases where your doctor suspects an infection, you may be required to undergo a bone scan.

Treatment

Depending on the goal of treatment, your doctor may recommend either non-surgical or surgical treatment.

Non-Surgical Treatment

This type of treatment majorly focuses on the removal of any excess weight on the affected foot. The process which is also known as offloading prevents the foot from any inflammation and manages the condition. A more effective offloading process is by walking in a walking boot.

You will be given custom-made shoes which come with extra depth and a special insert. The custom shoes help you return to normal activities gradually.

Surgical

In case of severe ankle and foot deformities, your doctor may recommend surgery. Usually, patients with high risks of developing foot ulcers are advised to undergo surgery.

Preventive Care

Charcot foot patients should maintain regular foot care. Make sure you do follow-ups with your doctor (ankle specialist). The doctor will monitor your foot, and ascertain whether there are any new changes related to Charcot. They will also establish any diabetes-related foot complications.

You just need to have a regular check-up with your doctor. If you suspect any similar symptoms as discussed above, do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment. Our medical providers will assess your situation and advise on the best possible solution.

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