Charcot Foot

Charcot Foot is the name of a condition that starts out with nerve damage called neuropathy. In neuropathy, such as what occurs in diabetics, the patient is unable to feel any sensations on the foot such as temperature changes, pressure, or where the foot is in space. By not feeling the sensations, the patient is unaware of the damage to the foot that is occurring. After the neuropathy, the arches of the foot begin to collapse. This allows the bones of the lower leg – the tibia and fibula to push through the collapsed bones of the feet so that the weight of the body has pushed these bones through to the level of the bottom of the foot. It’s as if the patient is now walking on the tibia and the fibula – bones never meant to be walked on. There is a noticeable deformity of the foot at this point. The symptoms of Charcot Foot may include pain and swelling, redness and heat from the afflicted foot. Cause The cause of Charcot’s foot is the neuropathy. In some cases, an association to neuropathy with a tight Achilles tendon has been found. Treatment and Prevention The Charcot foot condition progresses to total disability so it must be treated medically early. The ultimate solution is removing the neuropathy, which is caused by sugar deposits on the nerves (high blood sugar levels). If surgery is not recommended, adequate foot support is imperative. Complete bedrest or non-weightbearing is essential for healing to occur in the early stages. A cast may be required, or a brace along with crutches or a wheelchair. Custom orthotic inserts help prevent the reoccurrence of the condition once early medical intervention is initiated. Consider a sensitive foot insole.