When it comes to diabetes, we simply cannot stress enough the importance of creating a diabetic foot care plan. This disease poses tremendous risk for serious medical conditions, including Charcot foot, and we want to know that you are as safe as possible. Understanding how to care for this injury can help illustrate why this is important to us—and should be for you too.
Charcot foot is a condition that develops over time from two conditions frequently associated with diabetes – poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is nerve damage, and it can be particularly dangerous. With this condition, a patient could be injured without knowing it. Poor circulation is a problem because it results in tissues not receiving the nourishment they need, which can weaken your bones.
Combined, the weakened bones and inability to feel pain symptoms form a dangerous 1-2 punch that contributes to Charcot foot. When a weakened bone fractures inside the foot, an individual who also has neuropathy will be unaware of the injury. This means that he or she will likely perform normal tasks, which leads to greater damage. This vicious cycle continues until the foot structure begins to break down and is so deformed it is virtually impossible not to notice.
Treating foot collapse starts with conservative treatment methods like casting and wearing custom shoes. A cast or boot can help to protect the injured foot, reduce swelling, and keep the bones as safe as possible. This does necessitate reducing activity that would place bodyweight upon the affected foot, including walking and simply standing.
If we deem that the case places a patient at heightened risk of foot ulcers, or protective footwear proves to be less than effective, surgery will likely need to be considered. The actual surgery procedure to be used will depend upon the severity and instability of the deformity. This can entail anything from lengthening the Achilles tendon (which decreases tension on the bones) to removing or shaving bone tissue. In some cases, realignment and fusion can be rather complex, but still capable of saving the shape of the foot.
Please remember that early treatment is key for avoiding dangerous diabetic complications. Don’t let a case of Charcot foot become too severe before seeking our help. Contact Foot Specialists of Long Island today by calling (516) 804-9038 and find out what our Massapequa, NY office can do for you.