What Is Charcot Foot?
This condition, also known as Charcot arthropathy, affects people with peripheral neuropathy who may not feel an injury when it occurs. As you unknowingly continue to walk on the injury, the bones become weaker and over time they may fracture and cause deformity. In very severe cases where infection has set in, amputation may become necessary to save your life. In its early stages there may be a bit of redness, swelling, and you may feel like you have a warm foot. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to get immediate medical attention. As the condition progresses, the chance of fracture and subsequent deformity becomes greater. The problem is especially prevalent in people with diabetes because they suffer from nerve damage with more frequency than others. The best way to fight this condition is by catching it early, and the only way to do that is by checking your feet for problems. You won’t be able to feel any pain, so noticing the redness and warmth is crucial.
Preventing Charcot Foot with Daily Checks
If you have diabetes, you have probably heard about the importance of checking your feet daily for anything out of the ordinary. This is something that you should put into practice on an everyday basis. Nerve damage can prevent you from feeling a problem that exists so relying on your other senses becomes very important. Thoroughly check your feet for any cuts, bruises, discoloration, or anything else that does not seem right. This means looking in between all of your toes, in and around the nail bed, and by your ankles. If you cannot do this on your own, you can enlist the help of a loved one or use a mirror to look in hard to reach places.
Treating This Condition
Immediate treatment is necessary for a complete recovery. You need to follow all instructions provided to you to the exact letter or else risk losing your foot, and even your life. To help keep your bones from fracturing or to fix an existing fracture, you must immobilize your foot with the use of a cast. During this time you may not bear any weight on your foot at all or you run the risk of damaging your bones even further. After a period of time, you will be able to move from a cast to a special orthopedic shoe. This shoe will provide support, and in some cases you will be fitted with a brace to go inside the shoe as well. You will have to greatly reduce the amount of activity in which you participate. You won’t be able to run or do any other high-impact exercise for quite a while. In cases where the condition has progressed, you may need surgery. We will be able to recommend the type of surgery that will best suit your needs.
Where to Find Help
For more information on daily foot checks and preventing Charcot foot call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in our offices.