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Charcot Disease

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Charcot disease, also known as Charcot's syndrome and Charcot's sclerosis, is a progressive degenerative disease associated with nerve damage to your feet. The disease affects the joints of your feet and diminishes your ability to sense pain in the feet, thereby causing recurrent foot and joint injuries. As a result, Charcot disease can be devastating, particularly if it is not treated properly.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of, or have been diagnosed with Charcot disease, contact your doctor to obtain the treatment you need. An experienced podiatrist can help improve your foot's functioning while reducing your symptoms.

Causes of Charcot disease

The precise causes of Charcot disease are not fully understood. However, primary risk factors for the disease are. These factors include diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and foot trauma. High blood glucose levels (associated with diabetes) trigger neuropathy, which may develop into Charcot foot disease. A minor trauma to the foot (for example, twisting the foot) can also trigger the disease's progression. Although it may take decades after the onset of diabetes for Charcot disease to develop, once the disease develops, it can progress in a matter of weeks or months.

Charcot disease symptoms

Symptoms of Charcot disease include: 

  • Heat in the joints of your foot. 
  • Instability and misalignment of your foot joints. 
  • Loss of pain perception. 
  • Redness and swelling of your foot and ankle. 
  • Repeated joint injuries (i.e. dislocation of the joint). 
  • Strong pulse in your feet. 
  • Secondary complications: 
    • Arthritis. 
    • Blood vessel and nerve compression. 
    • Bone and joint inflammation. 
    • Calluses.

Treatment of Charcot disease

The goal of Charcot disease treatment is to minimize or eliminate the disease's symptoms and, in particular, to stabilize your foot joints. Your doctor may stabilize the joints using one or more methods, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how far the disease has progressed. You may need to use crutches to prevent further damage to your foot and allow the bones to heal. In more severe cases, your doctor may perform surgery to reshape your foot’s structure, remove abnormal bone growth, and correct deformities. Recommended treatment for any underlying disease(s) will also be suggested.

Contact your doctor today to learn more about treatment options for Charcot disease. With the help of a skilled foot care specialist, you can have your feet functionality improved or restored.