Charcot foot is a sudden softening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the arch collapses and the foot takes on a convex shape, giving it a rocker-bottom appearance, making it very difficult to walk.
Prevention Is Key
In most cases of Charcot foot, only minor trauma causes the foot arch to collapse, so in order to prevent this possible outcome, it's important to spend time examining your feet and wearing shoes that offer both comfort and support. The Podiatry Institute recommends that people with Charcot foot or diabetes wear good, supportive shoes like those from Drew or Apis Footwear with a soft insole of micro cellular rubber to absorb shock. Extra depth oxfords are also a good choice for people suffering from Charcot foot.
The patient can play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications by following these measures:
Diabetes patients should keep blood sugar levels under control. This has been shown to reduce the progression of nerve damage in the feet.
Get regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon.
Check both feet every day and see a surgeon immediately if there are signs of Charcot foot.
Be careful to avoid injury, such as bumping the foot or overdoing an exercise program.
Follow the surgeon's instructions for long-term treatment to prevent recurrences, ulcers and amputation.
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