Diabetes Health: Charcot Foot

January 18, 2018

Charcot foot is a serious complication of diabetes that happens when the bones in the foot become weak and eventually break down. Typically, you experience Charcot foot when you have diabetes and neuropathy (nerve damage) in your feet.

What is Charcot foot?

Charcot foot is the gradual weakening of bones, joints, and soft tissues of the foot or ankle which leads to deformity of the foot.

Imagine being injured, and then walking on an injury because don't feel it or know it's there. When you continue to walk, the bones in your foot experience trauma and start to break down and disintegrate. Bone loss then causes changes in the structure of the foot and areas of the foot collapse.

When parts of the foot and ankle collapse, it can lead to deformity. Then, this deformity can lead to foot sores and ulcers, bone infection (osteomyelitis), and if not treated aggressively, amputation.

What are the causes of Charcot foot?

Typically, Charcot foot occurs in people who have diabetes and neuropathy. When you are unable to feel pain and their feet or toes, it is easier be injured.

Charcot usually develops from a minor injury like a sprain, and the individual then continues to walk on their foot making the injury worse.

What are the signs and symptoms of Charcot foot?

The signs and symptoms of Charcot foot will vary from person to person, but some of the symptoms of Charcot foot may include:

  • Pain or Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Increased Foot Temperature

How can you prevent Charcot foot?

Your care team along with your podiatrist are the best resources to discuss your individual risk factors for Charcot foot, along with the best preventive measures specifically for you. However, some of the key things you can do are as follows:

  • Manage your diabetes, particularly your blood glucose levels with support from your care team.
  • See your podiatrist annually or on a more frequent basis depending on your risk category.
  • Check your feet daily with a full visual and physical exam.

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