November is diabetes awareness month, so keep in mind that a sometimes crippling injury that can happen to diabetes patients is called Charcot Foot disorder. In this potentially terrible situation, the sufferer is unaware that their foot may have completely collapsed and they can even walk around on this disfigured foot because the person doesn’t feel any pain. Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) is a hallmark of diabetes that can lead to this and other consequences (like foot ulcers) when not properly treated.
Early diagnosis and treatment of Charcot foot is essential to prevent significant damage. If the foot hasn’t collapsed too far and the condition is noticed in time, surgery and amputation may be avoidable.
3 initial treatments that can also be used after any surgery to prevent a recurrence include the following:
- Foot immobilization—Using crutches or a wheelchair to take all the weight off the foot will be necessary for some time. A custom boot will be prescribed to immobilize the foot while it heals.
- Activity change—Decreasing activities and changing to lower stress pursuits like swimming and hydrotherapy will help healing to take place.
- Special shoes—The healing period for recovery can be very long, involving many months. Wearing specially designed and fitted shoes with the proper orthotic inserts and braces is essential for avoiding falls and injuries going forward.
Because of the increased stress and pressure on the usable foot, while the one with the Charcot injury is healing, regular monitoring by your foot doctor is essential to avoid complications and additional injuries.
If you or your loved ones would like assistance navigating the potential pitfalls of diabetes, contact your trusted foot doctor for the best advice and treatment guidelines. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.