Charcot Foot

Definitions:

Charcot foot is a degenerative condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that occurs in people with significant nerve damage or neuropathy. The bones can weaken enough to fracture. Over time and with cont

inued walking, the foot can even change shape. This condition eventually leads to joint collapse and the foot taking on an abnormal shape, such as a rocker-bottom appearance.

Signs and Symptoms:

The symptoms of charot foot are:

  • one foot is warmer to the touch than the other
  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain and soreness

Diagnosis:

Charcot foot should be diagnosed early for successful treatment. Dr. Westermeyer, in diagnosing the condition, will thoroughly examine the foot. He will look for pain in the joint, swelling, warmth, and redness. The doctor may also utilize imaging techniques, such as X-ray in assessing the condition.

Treatment:

Dr. Westermeyer has many treatment options available and will choose the method that is best suited to the condition and the patient’s lifestyle. To help relieve the symptoms, one or more of the following treatments may be used:

  • Orthotic devices (shoe inserts) to provide support and cushioning.
  • Custom shoes and bracing to support the foot and help relieve pain.
  • Immobilization to protect from movement so that bones can repair themselves. Because this condition makes the bones very fragile they must be protected. Complete non-weight bearing is necessary to keep the foot from further collapse. It is important to not walk on the foot until allowed to do so by the foot and ankle doctor.
  • Activity modification. A modification in activity level may be required to avoid repetitive trauma to the foot.

Surgery may be needed, in some cases, if the condition becomes severe enough.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please come in and visit your escondido ankle doctor, Dr. Westermeyer, to determine the severity of the condition and to learn about the treatment options available to you.