16 Apr Charcot Foot (Diabetic Foot)
Charcot Foot is a condition that causes weakening of the bones in the foot, which can occur in people with significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones become weak enough to break, and as you continue walking, the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape.
Charcot foot is a serious condition that can cause severe deformity, disability, and even amputation. Because of its seriousness, it is important for patients with diabetes, a disease often associated with neuropathy, to take preventive measures and seek immediate care if signs or symptoms occur.
Causes of Charcot Foot
Charcot foot develops as a result of neuropathy, which reduces sensation and the ability to sense temperature, pain, or trauma. Due to the decreased sensation, the patient may continue walking – making the injury even worse. People who have neuropathy (especially those who have had it for a long time) are at risk of developing Charcot foot. Additionally, it has been shown that neuropathic patients with a tight Achilles tendon tend to develop Charcot foot.
Symptoms of Charcot Foot
Symptoms of Charcot foot, diabetic foot disease, may include;
- Touch temperature (the affected foot is warmer than the other)
- foot rash
- swelling in the area
- Pain or soreness
Charcot Foot Treatment
It is extremely important to follow the treatment plan for Charcot foot. Failure to do so may result in loss of toe, foot, leg, or life. Non-surgical treatment for Charcot foot consists of the following;
Immobilization; Because the foot and ankle are very fragile in the early stage of Charcot, they need to be protected so that the weakened bones can repair themselves. Complete weightless bearing is necessary to prevent further collapse of the foot. The patient cannot walk on the affected foot until the surgeon determines it is safe to do so. During this time, the patient may wear a cast, removable boot or brace and may need to use crutches or a wheelchair. It can take several months for bones to heal, but in some patients it can take quite a long time.
Special shoes; Once the bones have healed, shoes with special inserts may be required to enable the patient to return to daily activities and also to prevent recurrence of Charcot foot, ulcer development, and possibly amputation. In cases with significant deformity, bracing is also necessary.
Event change; A change in activity level may be necessary to prevent repetitive trauma to both feet. A patient who has Charcot on one foot is more likely to develop it on the other foot, so precautions should be taken to protect both feet.
When is Surgery Necessary?
In some cases, Charcot deformity may become so severe that surgery is necessary. The appropriate time and appropriate procedure for surgery will be determined depending on the case.