If you have diabetes or peripheral neuropathy, you’re also more likely to experience potentially serious complications, like Charcot foot or ankle. David Larson, DPM, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon, offers both conservative and surgical treatment of Charcot foot and ankle. To make an appointment, call the office in Mesa or Phoenix, Arizona, or request an appointment today.
Charcot foot and ankle is a rare but serious condition that affects people with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). It causes the bones, joints, and soft tissues in your feet and ankles to weaken and separate, increasing your risk of dislocated joints and fractures.
Without diagnosis and treatment, Charcot foot or ankle also increases your risk of pressure sores and other slow-healing wounds, which can lead to infection, gangrene, or even amputation.
Symptoms of Charcot foot and ankle include:
As the condition worsens, you might also have difficulty standing up or putting weight on your affected foot.
To diagnose Charcot foot and ankle, Dr. Larson reviews your medical records and asks about your symptoms and health, including when the pain started and how long you’ve had peripheral neuropathy. Next, he completes an exam, checking your feet and ankles for swelling or redness.
Dr. Larson also orders X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to get a closer look at the bones and joints in your ankles, feet, and toes.
When treating Charcot foot and ankle, Dr. Larson focuses on three things –– taking weight off of your foot, treating the bone disease, and preventing new fractures.
Some nonsurgical treatments include:
Dr. Larson may recommend wearing a cast, brace, or removable boot, in addition to using crutches or a wheelchair. This allows the fragile bones in your foot and ankle to gradually heal.
After the swelling resolves, Dr. Larson removes your cast and may prescribe custom shoes or bracing that fit your feet perfectly. Orthotics can relieve pressure points and prevent Charcot foot or ankle from reoccurring.
He might also advise you to reduce activity levels and make meaningful lifestyle changes to help you heal properly.
If your symptoms continue or worsen, Dr. Larson might recommend surgery to realign the bones in your foot and ankle, easing pain and restoring your mobility.
Some of the surgical treatment options available include:
Dr. Larson shaves bony prominences to restore an even weight distribution and reduce the risk of further damage.
If you have chronic, non-healing ulcers or a foot condition that can’t be resolved with bracing, reconstruction with external fixation might be necessary.
In the most severe cases of Charcot foot or ankle, such as having abscesses or extensive bone loss, you might need amputation to preserve your health.
To learn more about the treatment of Charcot foot and ankle, call the practice of David Larson, DPM, or request an appointment online today.