Charcot Foot is a Danger for Diabetics


If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully in order to effectively regulate blood sugar. When blood glucose levels are poorly managed, you run the risk of numerous complications. Many of these occur in the feet, including neuropathy, diabetic foot ulcers, and Charcot foot, also called Charcot arthropathy.

What is Charcot foot?

Charcot foot is a disease that attacks the bones, muscles, and soft tissues in the feet. It’s common in diabetics who have diminished sensation in their lower limbs. It can also affect people who have experienced a loss of feeling due to alcohol or drug abuse, spinal cord injury, infection, or other causes.

How does it form?

When a small wound or injury to the foot goes unnoticed and unaddressed because you don’t feel pain, it gets worse as you walk around on it. Eventually, the bones in the foot can begin to lose calcium and weaken. They move out of position, changing the shape of the foot. The toes may curl or the ankle becomes unsteady. The bones in the arch of the foot may drop until the middle of the foot is lower than the heel. This condition is called “rocker bottom.” The bones in your misshapen foot may even rub against your shoes, causing wounds that become ulcerated and infected.

Suspect Charcot foot?

When Charcot foot begins, your foot will be red, warm, and swollen. If you think that you have developed Charcot foot, or if you have any other concern about your foot and ankle health, call your podiatrist right away. Your foot doctor is a specialist with years of training and experience who can accurately and specifically diagnose your issue.

During your appointment

Your appointment will include a brief chat, and then an examination that can include x-rays. If your doctor determines that Charcot foot is the source of your discomfort, treatment may involve medication, immobilization with a cast or boot, and a device to assist with walking. Surgery is a possibility for severe cases. After recovery, physical therapy and custom orthotics are likely. 

At Podiatry Group of AnnapolisDr. James M. McKee provides care to patients with diabetes every day. He is well versed in meeting their special needs, and he can help you, too. Click here or call us at 410-224-4448 to schedule an appointment in our comfortable, state of the art office in Annapolis, MD today.