Patient Education

If you or a loved one experience difficulties due to wound management issues, the following information may be helpful to you:

Off-Loading Safety and Prevention for Diabetics
Safety Precautions for the Elderly Skin Care
Take Care of Your Feet Tips for foot Wear for Diabetics
Are You At Nutritional
Risk?
Your Doctor Says…You Have to Lower Your Cholesterol
Amputation Prevention Fact Sheet Charcot Joint Disease
General Foot Care Guidelines
Coping With Loss of Sensation
Dealing With Pain

Charcot Joint Disease

What is it?
Charcot Joint Disease results from destruction of the bones of the feet.  The disease was first described in the late 1800’s by a French physician, Dr. J.M. Charcot.  People who lacked sensation in the feet were known to have changes in their foot cones.   Diabetics were more likely to have these changes.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

  • Swelling of the feet
  • Increased skin temperature of the feet
  • Redness in the involved area
  • Lack of sweating in the involved area, resulting in dry skin
  • Structural changes in the foot.  The foot appears shorter and malformed sue to this destruction

What are the Risk Factors?
Diabetics unable to feel pain in their feet may develop Charcot Foot.  They may experience injury to the foot and not even realize it.  Instead of resting and protecting the injured foot, the diabetic continues to walk on the foot, causing further injury that may lead to the possible destruction of the bones and joints. 

There may be decreased muscle strength in the feet and legs when there is no sensation in the feet.  This leads to muscle imbalance.  That affects how a person walks and can create greater impact on the bones and joints.  This causes even greater injury.  Twists and sprains may occur but the person is unaware of it and continues to use the foot.

How Would You Know You Have Charcot Foot?
Diagnosis is made by a physical examination, review of the signs and symptoms and radiological studies. 

How do you treat Charcot Foot?
Prevention of the destruction of the structure of the foot is essential.  Regular visits to your physician for monitoring, daily foot inspection on your part, and the use of special footwear help.  Surgery is sometimes needed.  Other forms of protection include use of a wheel chair, a cast, crutches or best rest.

If the arch of the foot collapses, immediate medical attention is necessary.  Fusion of the bones in the feet may be required.  Treatment may require many months of continual care to prevent further destruction.