Charcot Foot is a potentially debilitating condition where the bones of the foot become weakened and fracture easily. People with severe nerve damage or neuropathy and those with poor circulation—two conditions that frequently accompany diabetes—are at an increased risk for Charcot Foot. Since the neuropathy results in a loss of sensation and an inability to feel pain, patients don’t realize bones are fracturing and continue to walk on them, making the damage even more extensive.
Since feeling pain is not likely to be experienced, at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM we tell our patients to be vigilant in looking for other symptoms of Charcot Foot:
· Foot feels warm to the touch
When a patient comes into our Somers Point office with these symptoms, in addition to examining the foot the podiatrist will use digital x-rays (which can be taken in office) and possibly other imaging studies to check for fractures or other conditions, such as bone infections, that may have similar symptoms to Charcot Foot. The foot doctor will want to know what types of activities you were doing before you noticed the symptoms.
Treatment and Prevention
Once diagnosed, the foot doctor will most likely want you to avoid bearing any weight on the affected foot. This immobilization may require a cast, boot, or other devices. After the bones have healed, the podiatrist may recommend special orthotics for your shoes to help prevent future fractures. To help prevent Charcot Foot, you can:
· Refrain from exercise and fitness regimens that put excessive and repeated impact on the same area of the foot
· Avoid going barefoot to minimize your risk of injury to your foot
· Inspect your feet daily for any swelling, redness, warmth, changes in shape or size
· See your podiatrist regularly for checkups
· Follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar levels under control
If Charcot Foot is diagnosed in its early stages, the chances of a positive treatment outcome are greatly increased. If you have any symptoms of this disorder, don’t delay. Make an appointment with us as soon as possible by calling: (609) 927-4894.