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What Is Charcot Foot?

Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

Charcot foot is a pattern of bone and joint damage that can lead to foot deformity. Charcot foot begins with peripheral neuropathy, a disease of the nerves in the feet. Because your nerves do not function well, you may not sense pain when you injure your foot.You may break bones or damage joints without knowing it. If you keep walking on your injured foot, fractures can heal unevenly. This causes foot deformity. With Charcot foot, minor fractures can lead to major problems if not treated early.

Acute Charcot Foot

Acute Charcot foot begins when repeated small fractures are not felt. At first, there may be no visible signs of Charcot. If you keep walking on your foot, fractures become worse. Your foot may feel hot and appear red and swollen.

Fractures

Fractures begin to heal as Charcot foot progresses. But pressure from your body weight keeps bones from mending smoothly. Continued walking can cause new fractures. Your foot may still be red and swollen.

Chronic Charcot Foot

Chronic Charcot foot is deformity resulting from poor bone healing. Shoes may not fit the deformed foot. Chafing from a poorly fitting shoe can cause ulcers (open sores). Ulcers may become infected. Severe infection may require amputation.

Medical Reviewer: Bhattacharyya, Tim MD Last Annual Review Date: 2011-09-15T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Diabetes section on Better Medicine


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Did You Know?

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Neuropathy is most commonly seen in people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years.