Charcot foot

Charcot Foot: Understanding the Condition

Charcot Foot, also referred to as Charcot arthropathy, is a condition of the foot caused by nerve damage affecting the patient's sense of feeling and balance. Due to the reduced sensation, the patient does not feel any pain in their feet and hence is unable to protect it from injury. Consequently, the foot can suffer from fractures, dislocations and deformities.

Causes of Charcot Foot

Charcot Foot is usually caused by nerve damage resulting from a medical condition such as diabetes, certain infections and substances that damage nerves. Long term alcohol and tobacco use can also cause Charcot Foot.

Types of Charcot Foot

There are three main types of Charcot Foot:

  • Acute Charcot Foot: Rapid onset of destruction of joint structure
  • Subacute Charcot Foot: Slow in onset but accompanied with acute exacerbations
  • Chronic Charcot Foot: Slow and continuous

Prevention and Treatment of Charcot Foot

Charcot Foot can be managed by reducing the risk factors that cause nerve damage and controlling diabetes, along with physical therapy and orthopedic shoes to help reduce deformity and provide support to the feet. If the patient has severe pain or if the foot deformity is too severe, then surgery may be needed.

Risks and Complications of Charcot Foot

Though Charcot Foot is a non-life threatening condition, it can cause damage to the feet which cannot be reversed. It can also lead to an increased risk of the patient suffering from secondary infections that can cause long term complications. With good management and care, the symptoms of Charcot Foot can be controlled and the risks minimized.