When diabetic patients are diagnosed with Charcot foot, it may change their lives forever, especially if they are of the active sort — running, and doing physical exercises whenever they can.
What to expect with Charcot foot
Charcot foot, or diabetic Charcot foot syndrome, is a condition where a patient may face the possibility of losing their lower extremities. The reason for this is that the bones in the foot weaken to a degree where the patient may gradually lose the feeling in their foot or ankle. The bones can end up fractured and may change how the foot looks.
For the fractures and joints that get dislocated in either the foot or the ankle, without proper treatment they may result in permanent deformity in the foot. Once the condition progresses, the joints may collapse, and the patient ends up with a foot that takes on an abnormal shape.
Charcot foot is also known as Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy, or CN, may also lead to the patient slowly losing the feeling in their lower limbs. Because of the decreased sensation, they may not feel anything even if there’s something wrong with them already. They may end up worsening any injury they may have.
How to avoid Charcot foot
As Charcot foot may normally affect people with diabetes, there are a few things they need to watch out to avoid or lessen the risk of developing Charcot foot.
1) Patients need to manage their blood sugar levels.
2) They should have regular checkups with a podiatrist.
3) Both feet should be observed every day. If symptoms for Charcot foot are evident, contact a surgeon immediately.
4) Take great care when doing any strenuous activities such as jogging or running.
Complications of Charcot foot
1) There are several complications that patients have to watch out for once they are diagnosed with Charcot foot.
2) Patients are susceptible to foot ulcers.
3) Fractures may cause friction between a standard shoe and the foot, resulting in blisters.
4) Misaligned bones may result in unbalanced weight distribution, which may cause falls or slips.
5) Sensations may lessen because of nerve damage, making a patient oblivious to pain which may worsen if the patient still does the strenuous activity
6) May result in poor blood flow to the feet, making foot ulcers worse.
Charcot Foot Recommended Treatment
It is advisable to get a doctor’s advice with treatment, so as to avoid unnecessary loss of life or limb.
There are nonsurgical treatments available such as:
1.) Make the patient immobile for a certain number of hours or days.
2.) Have the patient wear customized shoes or braces such as a CROW, plastic and leather afo or diabetic shoes.
3.) Lessen the physical activity of the patient, especially if it requires the use of the feet.
Charcot Foot Alternative Treatment
There are not many people who will look into physical therapy with Charcot foot, but as a question posed to our patients will show, there were several people who responded positively to the use of physical therapy.
One responded that physical therapy helped her to a certain degree and that their podiatrist recommended it.
There was another respondent who gave positive remarks about physical therapy and was into water aerobic for strengthening their lower limbs. They also visited the senior pool, as it had equipment in the water just right for their purposes.
*Before performing physical therapy it is best to always consult your physician to make sure it is safe.