How do I know if I have Charcot Foot?
Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN) commonly referred to as the Charcot foot; is a condition affecting the bones, joints, and soft tissues of the foot and ankle, characterized by uncontrolled inflammation in the earliest phase.
This inflammation leads to increased blood flow and bone absorption that is indirectly responsible for the progressive fracture and dislocation of the foot leading to severe deformity and loss of function. The hallmark deformity associated with this condition is midfoot collapse, described as a “rocker-bottom” foot, although the condition appears in other joints and with other presentations.
The Charcot foot has been documented to occur as a consequence of various peripheral neuropathies; however, diabetic neuropathy has become the most common etiology.
Charcot foot usually only happens alongside a case of neuropathy. Due to nerve damage, you don’t feel the pain of the initial injury, so you continue to walk and make the problem worse.
Since those with severe neuropathy can’t rely on pain to identify an early case, you’ll need to carefully monitor your feet for the early warning signs, including:
If you have diabetes and neuropathy and detect any or all of these warning signs, don’t take any unnecessary risks. A simple X-ray and other clinical findings by an experienced foot and ankle specialist can confirm if there has been any damage to the underlying bone. The best treatment initially is to be off-loaded in a cast while the condition takes its course. This will help preserve the integrity of the foot and prevent further complications that may result in ulceration, bone infection, surgery or loss of limb.
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