Unfortunately, this foot malady can strike diabetic patients who experience peripheral neuropathy (numbness due to nerve damage) without their even being aware of it until considerable damage has been done. Since nerve damage is also associated with a weakening of the bones, this combination of factors can lead to foot bone fractures that go unnoticed and a severe and disabling deformity of the foot that may even require amputation.
Since diabetic patients frequently have no feeling in their feet, it is important to have your foot specialist perform a thorough examination. Signs of swelling and warmth are early indicators of a problem, and imaging studies will need to be performed to confirm the presence of fractures.
Your podiatrist will determine the best treatment plan for you. Due to the serious threat that Charcot foot poses to your health, it is extremely important to follow the doctor’s plan.
Non-surgical treatments may include the following:
●Immobilization: In order to give frail bones a chance to heal and to avoid any further collapse of the arch, total removal of weight from the foot is necessary. This will involve the use of a cast, boot or brace to immobilize the foot and a wheelchair or crutches to avoid putting weight on the foot.
●Custom footwear and bracing: When your doctor determines that you are ready to resume weight-bearing activities, shoes with specially designed inserts can help prevent ulcers from forming, and also prevent a recurrence of Charcot foot.
●Activity modification: Your doctor will aid in developing an activity plan to help avoid additional trauma to your feet, and avoid a recurrence of Charcot foot.
In very severe cases the deformity may need to be surgically repaired. A comprehensive examination by your foot specialist can help make that determination.
The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.