If you’re living with diabetes or peripheral neuropathy, you’re also at risk of Charcot foot and ankle. Though rare, the condition can affect your mobility and quality of life. At Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center, James Cottom, DPM, FACFAS, and Jay Badell, DPM, AACFAS, and the team boast years of experience diagnosing and treating Charcot foot and ankle. To make an appointment at the practice, call or book online today.

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What is Charcot foot and ankle?

Charcot foot and ankle is a potentially serious condition that causes the bones, joints, and soft tissues in your foot and ankle to weaken. Over time, these structural changes increase the risk of a fracture or dislocation. Without early intervention and treatment, Charcot foot and ankle can result in bone abnormalities, affecting your ability to walk, run, or exercise.

Does Charcot foot and ankle present symptoms?

Common symptoms of Charcot foot and ankle include:

  • Curled toes
  • Abnormal foot shape
  • Twisted or unsteady ankle
  • Red skin
  • Swelling

As the condition worsens, you might also notice that your skin is warm to the touch.

What causes Charcot foot and ankle?

Charcot foot and ankle occurs for various reasons, but it’s often the result of untreated peripheral neuropathy or diabetes. If you have peripheral neuropathy, your nerves don’t work as they should. That means you can sprain your ankle or develop a fracture and not realize it.

If you break a bone or dislocate a joint but fail to seek treatment, the injury may worsen, leading to open wounds or infection. If the infection progresses, it can result in gangrene and the need for amputation.

Other common causes of Charcot foot and ankle include alcohol or drug use, infections, and Parkinson’s disease.

How is Charcot foot and ankle diagnosed?

If your provider suspects you have Charcot foot and ankle, they thoroughly examine your feet and ankles and ask about your symptoms. If visual observation isn’t enough to make a diagnosis, they order a series of X-rays. X-rays provide detailed photographs of the joints and bones in your feet.

How is Charcot foot and ankle treated?

Treatment of Charcot foot and ankle typically involves a combination of rest, taking weight off the affected foot, casting, and medication. A cast or walking boot can ease inflammation and prevent deformities, while supplements like bisphosphonates can strengthen your bones.

If minimally invasive measures aren’t enough to provide relief, surgical intervention may be necessary. During surgery, your provider carefully realigns the bones in your foot.

To learn more about treatment for Charcot Foot and Ankle, make an appointment at Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center by calling the nearest office or booking online today.