July 15, 2012
-- Charcot foot is complication that can occur in those with diabetes when the bones are softened and there is some trauma that dislocates a joint or sprains a ligament. Despite all the research that has been published on this, very little clinical progress has been made in affecting outcomes. Those with this complication usually end up with the foot and leg in a cast or surgery. The chances of it happening again are common. Sometimes the outcome is as serious as an amputation. There has been a lot of research published on this condition in the last few years about the causes, pathophysiology and treatment. The understanding of the condition has increased substantially, but it is still occurring all too often.
Craig Payne, the webmaster from the popular Podiatry Arena where there is a lot of discussion on the Charcot foot (http://www.podiatry-
foot/) says that “it is often hard to appreciate what happens in this condition. I like to explain it by pretending that you sprain your ankle. Of course this will hurt and you stop walking on it. Now pretend that you have no pain or any other sensations in your feet. What will now happen when you sprain your ankle? You will keep walking on it as you do not know it is damaged. It is not hard to appreciate just how much damage will get done while you keep walking on it”. Payne suggest that these people will only notice the damage when one foot is seen as more swollen that the other or one foot feels warming than the other. For this reason those with diabetes are advised to check their feet on a very regular basis for any signs of changes in temperature or swelling. If there is any suspected problem, then any delay in getting treatment is likely to result in a much more severe outcome (http://www.epodiatry.com/charcot-foot.htm
Payne adds that despite all the research that gets published (http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.p...
), the real need is for the person with diabetes to have a heightened awareness of the potential for this complication and take precautions to avoid it and keep checking for any signs of it and seek prompt treatment. Any delay in seeking treatment can have significant consequences. No amount of research is a substitute for this vigilance.