Charcot Foot

Charcot foot is a sudden softening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have neuropathy. The bones are weakened enough to fracture and, with continued walking, the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the arch collapses and the foot takes on a convex shape, giving it a rocker-bottom appearance, making it very difficult to walk.

Charcot foot is a very serious condition that can lead to severe deformity, disability, and even amputation.

The symptoms of Charcot foot can appear after a sudden trauma or even a minor repetitive trauma, such as a long walk. A sudden trauma includes dropping something on the foot, or a sprain or fracture of the foot.

The symptoms of Charcot foot are similar to those of infection. Although Charcot foot and infection are different conditions, both are serious problems requiring medical treatment.

Charcot foot symptoms may include:

  • Warmth to the touch (the foot feels warmer than the other)
  • Redness in the foot
  • Swelling in the area
  • Pain or soreness

It is important to follow your doctor's plan for treating charcot foot as further complications could lead to amputation. Possible treatment includes improvement and monitoring of blood glucose levels; immobilization via splinting/bracing until bones can repair themselves; custom shoes and bracing; modification of activities until healing takes place; or surgery.

Last Modified Date: June 17, 2013

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by Nicole Purcell
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