can diabetic foot charcot be reversed

Health & Dietician Blog


Dealing with diabetic foot Charcot can be tough. People with diabetes face the risk of irreversible damage, foot problems, and other serious issues.

The big question on many minds is, “Can diabetic foot Charcot be reversed?”

In this article, we’re going to break down what diabetic foot Charcot is all about – how it develops, its symptoms, and what can be done about it.

From foot deformities to nerve damage, understanding this condition is crucial for those with diabetes and the folks taking care of them. Stick around as we explore the possibilities, complications, and the hope of turning things around for people dealing with diabetic foot Charcot, making life better for them.

How can I help my condition?

Follow the medical advice given to you, and try to keep weight off your foot as much as possible. Proper treatment is essential because Charcot foot can be highly disabling if not addressed appropriately.

  • Follow the medical advice you’ve received, and try to minimize putting weight on your foot, as Charcot foot can become disabling if not treated properly.
  • Keep your diabetes under control by following past recommendations.
  • Regularly check your other foot for increased pressure, which could lead to additional problems.
  • If you notice any changes or have concerns about your treatment, reach out to a specialist from the diabetes service.
  • The diabetes foot service is here to support you, providing guidance on managing Charcot foot and addressing any questions you may have.

What is Charcot foot?

Charcot foot is a condition that affects the foot in people with neuropathy, which is nerve damage accompanied by numbness. In this condition, the bones in the foot become very fragile and can break or dislocate even with minor forces, such as those from standing or walking.

The most common cause of Charcot foot is diabetes, but it can also happen in people with different types of nerve damage. Although it’s rare, occurring in about 1% of people with neuropathy from diabetes, when it does happen, it can lead to significant foot deformities or ulcers. In severe cases, it may even result in the amputation of the lower part of the leg.

How do I know if I have Charcot foot?

Look out for early signs like inflammation, with swelling, heat, and redness in the affected foot or ankle. These symptoms can be mistaken for an infection. Charcot foot might be triggered by a minor injury, such as tripping over something, or recent foot surgery. However, it can also start without an obvious reason. You may feel some aching discomfort, or it could be painless due to nerve damage. Typically, only one foot is affected, but in rare cases, both feet can develop Charcot foot. If not treated early and appropriately, walking on the affected foot may lead to deformities.

How is it diagnosed?

Your diabetes foot clinic will examine your foot and may conduct simple non-invasive tests, such as temperature and neuropathy testing. Your GP may have already done an X-ray of the affected foot, which is the best way to spot any bony changes.

If the X-ray doesn’t show clear changes, you might be asked to have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. This detailed imaging method can reveal areas of inflammation within the bone, serving as the earliest sign of the condition.

How is Charcot Foot treated?

The main goal of treatment is to prevent further foot deformity while the inflammation settles. If there’s already been a change in the foot’s shape, it can’t be reversed, but the focus is on stopping any additional deformity.

Does it get better?

Yes, it does, but it takes time. The cause of Charcot foot is unknown, and the condition can persist for several months, sometimes over a year, before settling and allowing the bones to regain strength.

If the foot has changed shape, you may need custom footwear from an orthotist. This is because the altered shape can create extra pressure on the skin over bony areas, leading to the formation of hard skin (“callus”) that might break down and form an ulcer.

Will it return?

Charcot foot might flare up again within a year or so, possibly because it wasn’t fully healed initially. Alternatively, in about 30% of cases, the process may affect the other foot.

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