Charcot Foot disease

I have a friend whose husband has Chart Foot disease. It is becoming more common among diabetics. we feel that diabetics should become aquainted with the disease. Here is her message:

My husband had surgery this past August 11 for Charcot foot. His symptoms first appeared in November of 2007. He was in fiberglass casts but his foot never left the acute phase. His doctor tried “CROW” boots (see below) and that didn’t help either.

Since his surgery, he has been in an external fixator and now a non-weight bearing cast. This Wednesday my husband will be put into a walking cast for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks, he will be measured for orthopedic shoes and then re-casted for 2 weeks while his shoes are being made. If all goes well, he will be back standing on his own two feet in early December.

I’ve posted an article below that I was directed to when my husband was diagnosed. If you have any questions after reading it, feel free to ask…I’ll answer what I can! It’s my goal to get the word out about Charcot - it took my husband 3 months and 4 hospital visits (3 of which he was admitted) until we received a diagnosis! He had tests for blood clots, infection, lymphatic system problems and cellulitis. He had countless x-rays, blood tests, and an mri. To diagnose Charcot, the doctors need to do a bone scan which will show the smallest of fractures.

Surgery is often the last plan of action to heal a Charcot foot. Most doctors will try casting or “CROW” boots. Patients must use crutches, a knee walker, or a wheelchair to move about. Keeping weight off of the foot is the #1 rule.

Four factors are considered to be necessary in order for Charcot arthropathy to develop:
(i) peripheral neuropathy;
(ii) unrecognized injury;
(iii) continued repetitive stress on injured structure; and
(iv) increased local blood flow.

People with diabetes are at risk of getting a rare foot complication called Charcot foot. While rare, the number of people developing Charcot foot is increasing according to a recent press release. All diabetics should be aware of the symptoms so that they can seek immediate treatment for this rare foot disease.

Millions of Americans have diabetes. Few of them are aware of a potential complication called Charcot foot. While current research estimates that approximately one percent of diabetics contract Charcot foot, the number of incidences continues to rise. As the number of people with diabetes increases, and the American population ages, physicians expect this once rare disease to become more common.

Many diabetics suffer with complications of diabetes that affect their feet. Charcot disease affects diabetics, usually without them even realizing they have this disease. It happens when the bones in the foot suddenly become soft. It is usually caused by nerve damage to the foot, or severe neuropathy.

Charcot foot can cause a host of problems. A few of the complications of Charcot foot include easily getting foot fractures, having ulcers, collapse of their foot arches, developing a deformed foot, needing to have the foot amputated, or even death. Some people are unable to walk on their foot when suffering with complication from diabetes.

While you cannot reverse the damage caused by Charcot foot, the destruction that it causes can be stopped with proper medical treatment.

Every diabetic should be aware of the symptoms and seek immediate medical care if they suspect they may have Charcot foot disease. It is particularly important since most people who have diabetes do loose the ability to sense changes in their foot.

Symptoms of Charcot foot can appear overnight. Some of the symptoms include:
One foot feels warmer than the other and is warm to the touch
Redness in the foot
Pain or soreness in the foot
Swelling of the foot

If you have any of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms could indicate Charcot foot, or other medical problems that necessitate immediate medical care as well.

“More people with diabetes, their families and their care providers need to know about Charcot foot. When I diagnose a patient with this complication, I telephone their primary care doctor and educate them about it as well,” said J. T. Marcoux. DPM, FACFAS. Marcoux is one of the few Massachusetts foot and ankle surgeons who perform reconstructive surgery for Charcot foot.


Hi Richard,
Thank you for this information. The more we learn the better armed we are.

Here is the original link