Do You Need Charcot's Diabetic Foot Reconstruction?

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen dramatically over the years. For reference, in 2008, the CDC reported that 18.81 million people were diagnosed with diabetes or about 6.29 % of the population. In 2018, that number soared to 34.2 million and 10.5% of the population.

With the rise in cases of diabetes comes an increase in diabetes-related complications. About half of all patients undergoing non-traumatic lower-limb amputations due to foot complications have diabetes. 

Charcot’s foot is one such diabetes-related foot complication. Our skilled podiatrists at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers explain Charcot's foot and how to prevent complications.

What is Charcot’s foot?

Blood sugar that's not managed properly can cause neuropathy, or nerve damage, which causes a loss of feeling in your foot. This lack of sensation means you don't know if you have a cut or injury. Charcot’s foot is caused by diabetic neuropathy and subsequent injuries or micro-injuries to the foot.

Because the foot or ankle is insensitive to pain, you may not be aware that you've injured it and, therefore, continue to walk on it — causing further damage. Bones, joints, and soft tissues of the foot or ankle gradually become weaker over time. If not treated, the situation gets worse, and the stabilizing portions of your foot collapse.

Treatment options for Charcot’s foot

The first step to treating Charcot’s foot is to immobilize the foot to give the bones and joints a chance to rest and heal. In some cases, a cast may be necessary to facilitate bone healing. Additionally, custom shoes or bracing may help you walk normally and avoid re-injury once the bone heals. 

However, if the foot's damage is severe and noninvasive remedies can't heal your foot, surgery may be necessary to repair your foot. Fortunately, many new surgical techniques are available to save feet and legs, including joint reconstruction and Charcot's diabetic foot reconstruction.

Surgery for Charcot’s foot

Most Charcot’s foot cases can be treated by immobilizing the foot, especially if the condition is caught in the early stages. However, because Charcot’s foot is often diagnosed at a later stage due to the inability to feel pain in your foot, damage and infection can sometimes be challenging to treat.

If your foot can't be treated with immobilization, surgery can help correct the deformity and treat bone infections. Furthermore, with Charcot’s foot reconstruction surgery, you'll save your foot from amputation. 

Do you have diabetes? Call Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Clinics to schedule a foot checkup and learn how to prevent diabetes-related foot injuries. 

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