I have been told I have charcot foot, and I'm trying to find good information on this situation. My surgeon wants to fuse my ankle, but I think there is a better option. Any suggestions? Any good websites I can visit? Where do I go for help in this situation?
Even though it was first described in 1868, there is still a lot that is not understood about Charcot foot. Also known as neuropathic joint disease, it always occurs in the setting of neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is the most common cause. It often causes fractures and joint dislocations resulting in deformities. It is believed to be caused by abnormal bone metabolism in the affected area. Loss of protective sensation may also play a role. Stress fractures typically cause pain which would be a sign to limit physical activity. Without pain, physical activity and weight-bearing will continue and cause stress fractures to progress. In the acute phase, Charcot foot can appear similar to an infected foot with signs of inflammation such as redness, warmth, and swelling. Once infection is ruled out, treatment focuses on immobilization of the foot. Over time, the signs of inflammation resolve. A typical deformity is referred to as “rocker-bottom foot” with collapse of the arch. Deformities may also occur in other parts of the foot and ankle. Surgery can be helpful to correct deformities with could otherwise lead to skin ulcerations. Further information can be found on the website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/charcot-foot.htm and that of the organization Diabetes UK http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Introduction-to-diabetes/Other_associated_conditions/Musculoskeletal_Conditions/Charcot_joint/