Charcot of the foot and ankle is a very difficult and often debilitating problem related to diabetes. Most patients today who develop Charcot of the foot and ankle have diabetes with peripheral neuropathy. With trauma or abnormal stress to the foot, there is a small injury that escalates as the patient cannot feel their foot and ankle and so has no pain.
Over time, there is a collapse of the foot or ankle and the formation of ulcers or deformity occurs. It is essential to treat the Charcot episode rapidly and, if possible, prior to collapse, deformity or ulcer formation.
Early treatment of Charcot problems involves immobilization with a protected boot or cast. Treatment for delayed Charcot involves conservative therapy or surgery depending on the severity of the problem. Surgery involves removal of spurs and protection of the foot from ulcer formation and deformity. Bracing and special cushioned shoes and insoles are essential treatment options.