What is Charcot Foot?
For individuals diagnosed with diabetes there is an increased risk of developing a variety of bone and joint problems. One especially troubling development sometimes seen in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy is called Charcot foot. Since nerve damage causes a lack of feeling, some patients don’t even know they have a major problem with the joint of the foot until it completely collapses. If left untreated, Charcot foot can become so severe that complete disability and possible amputation of the foot are possible.
Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for avoiding serious damage to the foot. Conservative treatments for Charcot foot will be begin with x-rays taken right here in our office and may include the following:
- Immobilization of the foot—Taking the weight off of the foot is essential for healing to occur. A wheelchair or crutches will be required and a cast or rigid boot will need to be used until the bones heal. This process can take several months.
- Properly fitted shoes—Once the bones have healed, it is extremely important to have custom shoes fitted with special inserts to avoid repeat damage, ulcers, or amputation. For severe deformities, a brace may be required for optimum mobilization.
- Altering activities—Normal activities may have to be adjusted to be less stressful to avoid excess trauma to the feet and ankles.
While one foot is being treated for Charcot joint, the other foot will come under increased stress and pressure and will require vigilante monitoring for any damage or disease by your foot care specialist.
At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts. Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.