When it comes to your body, there is a lot you experience that you might not realize. If you have diabetes, that’s made abundantly clear. You don’t know your blood sugar level at any given moment unless you test. You also may not know if you have broken bones in your feet.
Does that surprise you?
The fact is that if you have diabetes, you might not always know about injuries in your feet. Small breaks in your foot bones can go undetected. You continue to walk and go about your day as normal, while your feet continue to weaken. Soon, they are unable to support you, causing deformities and disabilities.
This condition is known as Charcot foot, and it’s more common than you might realize for people with diabetes.
Treating Charcot Foot
Diabetes is associated with diminished sensations in the feet. When a person living with diabetes trips, stumbles, drops heavy objects on her foot, and has other traumatic foot injuries, she may not be able to sense lingering discomfort that tells her one of the tiny bones in her foot has broken. Each of these little fractures spreads stress to other foot bones, ligaments, and tendons, making it easier for another break to occur. This pattern of tiny bone cracks can cause the foot to change shape, a deformity called Charcot arthropathy (also known as Charcot foot, Charcot ankle, or neuropathic osteoarthropathy).
Treatment for Charcot foot can be either non-surgical or surgical. They key to avoiding surgery is to catch the condition early. If you notice any swelling or redness, or if your foot looks like it has some rocks in it, talk to a podiatrist.
Catching Charcot Foot early on prevents the need for surgery. Dr. Evan Merrill will take an x-ray of your foot and discuss your activities. Once he determines that you do not need surgical intervention, he will prescribe a course of treatment.
Non-surgical treatments include immobilizing your foot. This is the only way to allow your foot to heal properly and repair the broken bones. You will wear a cast or brace to support your foot during the healing process.
In cases where Charcot Foot is not caught early enough, surgical intervention is required.
There is a variety of surgeries that can be used to treat this foot condition. The severity of your injury will determine which type of surgery is right for you.
Preventative Care to Prevent the Problem
The best way to avoid this condition is to actively inspect your feet and keep diabetes from harming your body anymore than it already has. Check your feet daily for sores and injury. If you suspect that you might have Charcot foot or any other foot condition, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
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