Charcot foot and ankle are serious conditions that cause weakening of the bones. It occurs in people with significant neuropathy or nerve damage. Ryan Golub, DPM, and Zachary Flynn, DPM, AACFAS, at Arizona Foot Health in Phoenix, Arizona, provide custom care plans to treat existing Charcot foot and ankle symptoms and prevent permanent deformities. To find out more about services available for Charcot foot and ankle, call or schedule a consultation online.
Charcot foot and ankle occur when the bones in your foot weaken due to underlying nerve damage. As the bones become weaker, you’re at greater risk for fractures. Ultimately, the condition can change the actual shape of your foot.
You may develop Charcot foot and ankle due to direct trauma to the nerves from a fall or auto accident.
An underlying disease like diabetes can also cause nerve damage or neuropathy. As a result of neuropathy, you feel reduced or no sensations in your feet. Temperature changes and pain from abrasions or foot fractures are undetectable, often until the conditions cause advanced damage.
If left untreated, Charcot foot and ankle can cause your joint to collapse. It can also cause abnormalities in your foot shape that eventually lead to disability and even amputation.
Schedule an appointment with your provider at Arizona Foot Health right away if you detect any of the following symptoms in your foot or ankle:
To diagnose Charcot foot and ankle, your provider may recommend imaging tests such as an MRI or X-rays.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent additional complications, including debilitating foot deformities.
In the earliest stages of Charcot foot and ankle, your provider may recommend you keep your ankle immobilized in a cast or brace to allow any weak bones to heal naturally. During this time, you may be confined to a wheelchair or need to use crutches.
Some patients may just need custom shoes or inserts to ease pain and support their fragile feet. It’s important to limit activity to prevent your condition from worsening.
If the doctor detects a noticeable deformity in your foot, they’ll recommend surgery to correct the contributing fractures and collapsed joint. Surgery can also prevent the future need to amputate. Possible surgeries include:
If a bony bump is present — with or without ulcerations — it may need to be removed.
If you have chronic foot ulcers and your foot can’t be braced, your provider may recommend reconstruction. Few surgeons have the skill to take on reconstruction of Charcot feet, but your provider at Arizona Foot Health is specially trained in the procedure.
In the most severe cases of abscesses, infection, and bone loss, removal of the foot may be the only treatment option.
Your provider also works with you to prevent further foot complications, especially if you have diabetes or existing nerve damage.
For the expert treatment of Charcot foot and ankle, call Arizona Foot Health or book an appointment online today.