A debilitating condition that needs careful monitoring and medical attention is Charcot foot. This disorder happens when the bones of the foot become so weak that they become susceptible to fractures. At Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle we see Charcot foot in patients who have arthritis and nerve damage. Diabetic patients are particularly prone to this problem. Charcot foot can also affect your ankles and may occur in one or both feet.
Why is Charcot Foot Dangerous?
As foot bones fracture, joints can collapse and arches fall. Due to loss of sensation caused by neuropathy, patients with Charcot foot may not feel the pain associated with the fractures and so continue to walk, making the damage far worse. Eventually, if not treated, the foot becomes deformed and misshapen. As shoes rub against protruding areas caused by dislocated bones and joints, ulcers and wounds can form, which can lead to dangerous infections and even amputation.
What Can be Done?
If you have diabetes or know that you have neuropathy from another disease, you need to be extra vigilant and check your feet daily for any signs of Charcot foot. Common symptoms include: redness or swelling in your foot, pain or soreness and a feeling of warmth in the affected area. If you notice any of these signs, you need to call either our Edmond or Norman office immediately for an appointment. Diagnosing Charcot foot early is critical for successful treatment. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh will carefully examine your feet and ankles and also take a complete medical history. The foot doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and the activities leading up to them. X-rays and other imaging studies may be ordered to check for fractures and to track the progression of Charcot foot.
Once the podiatrist has finished evaluating your feet and ankles, an individualized treatment plan will be developed. If fractures have already occurred, rest and immobilization will be necessary in order for them to heal. Orthotics or bracing may be recommended by the foot doctor and you may need to modify your activities to avoid repetitive action that can harm weakened areas. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Regular podiatric checkups and paying attention to your feet are important ways to help prevent the debilitating effects of Charcot foot. Be sure to not delay in seeking evaluation and treatment if you notice any symptoms of Charcot foot. If you have questions, contact our office at (405) 285-7408.