Charcot Foot: What Is It, Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Charcot Foot: What Is It, Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Posted by Apex Foot Health on 13th Oct 2022

You may not be overly familiar with Charcot foot, but it affects about 1 in every 2,500 Americans.

Charcot foot, otherwise known as Charcot arthropathy, is a serious condition that targets the bones, joints, and soft tissue in your feet. In the worst scenarios, your foot can become irreparably damaged or require amputation.

It's important to tackle Charcot foot early on in the process. For that reason, we're going to tell you everything you need to know about what it is, the symptoms you may find, and how to treat it.

The key to dealing with this frightening condition is knowing more about it. Keep reading and you'll be able to detect and fight Charcot foot before it becomes a serious issue.

What Is Charcot Foot?

Although Charcot foot is somewhat rare, it's more likely to occur in those that suffer from peripheral neuropathy and diabetes. It's an illness that starts with numbness (or near-numbness) in the feet, which is a common occurrence for people with the above conditions.

While the foot is numb, bones can become weak and joints can dislocate without the person noticing. They may continue moving around with these foot injuries because they can't feel them, making them much worse in the process.

Eventually, the foot will collapse, causing deformity and potential disability. If the sores and/or deformity is and enough, the foot may have to be amputated.

Diagnosing Charcot Foot

Diagnosing Charcot foot in its early stages is imperative for preventing the worst-case scenarios. Charcot foot comes in three stages. In the first stage, you may notice some redness and swelling, and the affected area could be hot compared to the rest of the foot.

What's going on inside is that your soft tissue is swelling and small fractures are occurring. The joints become destroyed and any stability in your foot is compromised. Ultimately, the foot could take on a "rocker-bottom" appearance.

During the second stage, the body attempts to heal the damage. All of the signs from the first stage - redness, swelling, etc. - will slow down and stabilize.

In the third stage, everything becomes healed, but they don't go back to their initial state. If there are sores or ulcers involved, there could be further deformity.

The first stage of Charcot foot may last for up to a year. As soon as you notice those initial signs, it's important to seek treatment.

Close Up of Women Feet With Swelling

Charcot Foot Treatment

If a doctor is able to catch the Charcot foot early, measures will be taken to prevent the symptoms from worsening. This will involve keeping you off the foot for a set period of time. Afterward, your doctor may recommend wearing a protective boot or splints in addition to going for regular check ups.

If it's not caught early, you may require reconstructive surgery to correct the damage done. The recovery period for this would depend on the severity of your Charcot foot and how the surgery went.

Once the Charcot foot is healed, it's important to get the right footwear for your condition. Getting fitted for therapeutic or diabetic footwear that properly supports your foot will drastically lower the likelihood of a second bout with Charcot foot.

Doctor and Patient Looking Over Foot X-Ray

Get the Best Possible Footwear

Are you suffering from neuropathy or diabetes and worried about developing Charcot foot?

Proper footwear is important for those that suffer from nerve damage. At Apex, all of our diabetic and neuropathic shoes give you a roomy toebox and removable insoles, allowing the shoe to fit comfortably without any irritation or rubbing.

Visit our site to look at our wide variety of styles for both men and women. Let Apex help you get the support your feet need.