Charcot foot is primarily caused due to diabetic neuropathy. The nerves of the foot get damaged due to loss of blood flow and subsequently the bones are also weakened. If a person continues to walk with Charcot foot without taking treatment, it can cause change in shape of his foot.
The joints of the foot are seriously damaged and in medical terms this disorder is called neurogenic arthropathy. Since the nerve begins to lose sensation the affected person will not feel any pain on his foot even when it is hurt or damaged. This condition gives rise to serious deformity and change in shape of the foot and hence diabetic patients should regularly check their foot to ensure that there is no nerve damage. There is every chance for the person to get his feet hurt without his knowledge and they will feel very minimal pain. Subsequently the bones begin to regenerate in shape giving rock like appearance on the foot. This in turn makes the muscles to withdraw support for the foot. Charcot foot affects the metatarsal bones of the feet and very often this affects both the feet.
The main cause for getting Charcot foot is diabetic neuropathy which reduces the sensation in the nerves. The nerves will not send signals to the brain when there is any injury or pain in the foot. Diabetes is the main cause for getting peripheral neuropathy and the patient will continue walking since there is no pain making the disease to worsen.
Charcot foot can be caused by peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord injury, neurosyphillis and Hansen’s disease.
Normally such neuropathic disorders may take several years to develop, but Charcot foot can progress rapidly within a week or two. Any minor injury to the feet is enough to cause damage to the nerves. Due to repeated carelessness the position of the foot becomes worse which may again cause more injury to the jonts while walking.
An individual with neuropathic problems like Achilles tendon is likely to develop Charcot foot.
The affected feet becomes tender and warm to touch. There may or may not be swelling in the feet. Very often the pain may not be felt by the person and if at all they feel it only as bearable pain. The affected feet may become red and tender.
There may be hairline fracture on the foot bones. If left untreated, the affected feet may gradually change its shape getting badly deformed. The entire feet develops inflammation and become swollen.
It is necessary to diagnose the problem in initial stages to prevent more damage to the joints and bones. Diabetic patients should visit doctor regularly and check the condition of the foot. Your doctor may examine the feet and take X-ray for assessing the extent of damage.
Treatment depends on the intensity of the damage done to the bones and joints of the feet. If diagnosed with the problem of Charcot foot, it is necessary for you to follow the instructions of your doctor. The affected feet should be totally immobilized until the inflammation is healed completely. It may take enough time for the bones to overcome their weakness. One should be very cautious in not damaging the feet in order to prevent further damage or deformity to the foot.
If the surgeon insists on using wheelchair or casting for a while, you should follow his instructions. For some patients removable boots are recommended in the place of braces. Some patients will have to use crutches for balancing the weight and to prevent further damage to the affected feet.
Shoes are available with special insoles to facilitate easy healing of bones. Bracing and customized shoes are given for many people with diabetes. By wearing braces one can prevent the formation of ulcers in the feet which may lead to the amputation of the feet. It would gradually make good the deformed feet.
Lastly one has to make necessary changes in lifestyle to prevent further damage to the affected feet.
In case of severe deformity surgery is done for repairing the joints and bones which have lost shape due to neuropathy.
Pictures of Charcot Foot :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Charcot Foot
It is easy to prevent and avoid getting Charcot foot by taking preventive measures.
If you are diabetic, monitor the blood sugar levels regularly to reduce the nerve damage. You need to visit foot or ankle surgeon to ensure your foot is in good condition. Check both the feet each day to notice any swelling or tenderness which is indicative of Charcot foot.
Avoid injury or trauma to your feet while walking or running and do not overdo any type of exercises if you are diabetic.
Lastly you should follow the advice of your doctor in wearing castles or braces until the foot are completely healed.