Charcot Neuroarthropathy: What is It and How do we Fix It?

Charcot Reconstruction Options


One of my passions as a foot and ankle surgeon is limb salvage. Charcot neuroarthropathy is the most challenging threat to limbs that I encounter on a routine basis. These patients are not only challenging from a reconstructive perspective, but also come with multiple medical challenges (neuropathy, diabetes, kidney disease, decreased bone density). Even though the limb is threatened, the medical challenges of the patient also make salvage a larger endeavor. 


I follow an algorithm designed, tested, and implemented by my mentor discussed in detail here. The core principles of this algorithm have allowed me to save legs and alter lives that otherwise would be lost. Despite these efforts, sometimes I still lose. Every leg lost is a lesson learned, providing guidance to help the next patient needing salvage.


I firmly believe that every patient with Charcot deserves a chance at salvage. Around the world, and even locally, the recommendation is below knee amputation. The mindset is to cut your losses, and move on with your life. Statistically, this is not a wise decision for most patients with Charcot because they never walk with a prosthesis due to a multitude of reasons. Salvage is their best chance to maintain a level of function necessary to live a somewhat normal life. 


Depending on the severity of the deformity, bone collapse and loss, ulceration, and level of infection, multiple surgeries may be required to stabilize the limb. Oftentimes, it can take months to years to completely stabilize limb or functional ambulation.  This process can be significantly long for the patient and can be exhaustive on many levels including mentally, physically, and financially due to prolonged recovery times. In the end, though, when the patient and I have won and the limb is saved at no point does the patient say this was more hassle than it was worth. Together we put in the hard work and the patient is where they want to be. If you are suffering from Charcot and you are interested in limb salvage, please call to schedule an appointment today. It would be my pleasure to try and help you.

Dr. Zachary Flynn DPM, FACFAS Fellowship Trained Foot & Ankle Surgeon

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Issues Can Flat Feet Cause?

What Issues Can Flat Feet Cause?

Flat feet don’t always cause problems, but issues can unexpectedly develop at any time. Learn the issues flat feet can cause and how to help them get better.

Do Bunions Require Surgery?

One common question about bunions is whether they require surgery to correct. The answer depends on a number of factors. Here’s when you should consider surgery for your bunions.
Will My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

Will My Ingrown Toenail Heal on Its Own?

Ingrown toenail symptoms are enough to make every step hurt and put a damper on your day. Your ingrown toenail won’t go away without treatment but can be fixed in mere minutes at the office. Find out how to treat your ingrown toenail.
Is Hammertoe Hereditary?

Is Hammertoe Hereditary?

Hammertoes put you at risk for potentially severe complications. It’s natural to wonder if hammertoes are hereditary. Keep reading to learn if hammertoes are hereditary and why you should always treat your hammertoes.