Treatment for a Charcot Foot

March Madness comes at a bad time. With the weather improving outside, March should be a prime month to start moving and exercising again. However, all of us devoted college basketball fans are glued to our televisions for most of the month. We should all keep in mind the importance of regular exercise as we continue our discussion of diabetes.

I introduced Charcot neuroarthropathy two weeks ago. As a quick reminder, this is a non-inflammatory lower leg indication of diabetes in which nerve damage leads to the destruction of the foot joints. Today I will discuss treatment of this condition.

While conservative options like total contact casting (cast that help protect the skin on your foot) do exist, Charcot usually eventually results in surgical reconstruction. A patient with Charcot will go through a series of stages that cannot be stopped once they have begun. The end result is massive joint damage with bone breakup and remodeling into nonfunctional joints. The surgery required depends on what new shape the foot takes on after it has remodeled.

The main goal of surgery is to restore a functional foot, not necessarily to save the joints. This means surgery could be as simple as removing big bone spurs that impede walking. These are important to remove because they also tend to put pressure on the skin, which can damage it and cause an ulcer. Other people may require a fusion of the medial column. This means inserting a rod through the bones on the inside of the foot to lock up any remaining motion in the joints. While it sounds extreme, most patients are more mobile after a medial column fusion as opposed to less mobile.

Each patient is different in what he or she wants to accomplish from surgical reconstruction of a Charcot foot. At Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, we’re here to evaluate and provide you with the right treatment for your condition.  Some may not require any bone work. In those cases, your podiatrist will just cut or reconstruct tendons to either tighten or loosen them. It is important to contact our office about all your treatment options if you suffer from a Charcot foot deformity.


Dr. Nicole M. Castillo 

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