Charcot foot is a rare condition but can escalate quickly. It is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and who is at risk to avoid its consequences, which could include a foot amputation.
What Is Charcot Foot?
Charcot foot, also known as Charcot arthropathy or “diabetic foot,” is a condition that can severely injure the bones and joints in the foot and ankle. The underlying condition of Charcot foot is peripheral neuropathy. When this condition is present, an individual is usually unable to feel pain or discomfort due to damaged nerves. Without pain sensation, even a minor bone fracture will endure continued trauma as it goes undetected, eventually collapsing the joints and leading to foot deformity.
Who Is at Risk?
In order to develop Charcot foot, you have to have neuropathy. This can be caused by a multitude of factors. If any of the following apply to you, you might be at risk:
- Heavy drinking
- Advanced age
- Arthritis of the spine
- Spina bifida
- Family history of neuropathy
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing Charcot foot. If you have neuropathy, the most important thing you can do is wear quality footwear and protect your feet from injury. You can also:
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Examine your feet regularly for any signs of injury, trauma, or infection.
- Get immediate treatment when you notice anything abnormal.
- If you have diabetes, follow your physician’s orders closely and keep blood sugar under control.
- Visit a podiatrist regularly.
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Working closely with a podiatrist is the best step you can take toward avoiding devastating conditions like Charcot foot. A podiatrist can perform regular examinations and also provide X-rays and other diagnostic tools that can detect damage you might miss during an at-home self-exam. A podiatrist can also provide early treatment and equip you with your best defenses against the damaging, often permanent effects of Charcot foot.
At InStride Carolina Podiatry Group, we are home to podiatrists who are well-versed in Charcot foot, as well as other illnesses that start out subtly but can quickly turn into big consequences. If you’re looking to build a relationship with a doctor who can help you navigate your foot care needs and concerns, consider giving us a call. We are ready and willing to work alongside you to stay safe, healthy, and living your best life.