Is Charcot Foot Permanent & Is CMT More Common In Males Or Females?

Charcot Foot also called Charcot arthropathy is one of the rare complications causing weakening of the bones in the foot. They are very significant in diabetes patient with neuropathy and results in serious impediments. If you experience damage in the nerves due to diabetes, know the signs of Charcot foot so you can diagnose the condition early and get it treated immediately.

This is perhaps a serious condition often leading to severe deformity, disability and in the worst-case scenario result in amputation as well. Therefore diabetes patients when they encounter symptoms take preventive measures and seek immediate medical care.

Is Charcot Foot Permanent?

Charcot foot should be treated in the initial stages. When left untreated the bones may become irregularly aligned or may collapse, resulting in permanent changes in the shape of the foot.2,3

Is Charcot Marie Tooth More Common In Males Or Females?

Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) causes degeneration of the peripheral nerves and occur when an individual inherits the same abnormal gene for the same trait from each parent. As Charcot Marie Tooth progresses, it can cause deformities in the bones of the feet resulting in Charcot foot. The risk for two carrier parents was almost the same. However, males with an abnormal gene were more severely affected than females.4

Genetic counseling is recommended to help patients understand the inheritance pattern and diagnose the disease at an early stage and treat accordingly.

Causes Of Charcot Foot

Charcot foot develops in individuals who have numbness or decreased sensation in their feet and legs. These people will experience pain and trauma due to the damage in the nerves referred to as peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a disease associated with nerve damage when the blood sugar levels go uncontrollably higher. Some of the reasons for this condition include

  • High blood sugar levels
  • Low levels of good cholesterol and higher levels of bad cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol habit
  • Infection, trauma or damage in the peripheral nerves
  • HIV
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Spinal cord disease or injury

Although there is no specific cause for Charcot foot, however, there are few factors that trigger this condition such as

  • neuropathic patients with a tight Achilles tendon
  • trauma or injury to the leg which was not treated quickly
  • infection
  • surgery related to foot

The problem initially begins with an injury in your foot or in the ankle region. However, when the individual continues to walk, it worsens the injury and eventually resulting in Charcot foot.1

Diagnosis Of Charcot Foot

Initial stages of Charcot foot are hard to diagnose. Even x-ray reports show normal results. Therefore, it is often crucial to let your doctor know if you have a medical condition that might result in Charcot foot. It can have following signs such as a red, hot swollen foot without having a foot ulcer. Charcot joint can develop very rapidly after minor trauma in patients having type 2 diabetes mellitus and neuropathy.

In order to make sure or rule out the presence of this condition, your health care provider may conduct a physical exam and evaluates your feet for changes in appearance that may indicate bone or joint damage. The doctor even checks for blisters or ulcers in the foot and also evaluate your walking posture. Even a limp in walking may indicate the symptoms of structural damage resulting in Charcot foot. The most common methods to diagnose Charcot foot include

X-ray– They are used to detect joint effusions, large osteophytes, fractures, bone fragments, and joint misalignment and/or dislocation related to Charcot foot, as well as any change in the shape, or alignment, of the foot.

MRI Scan– In many cases, radiography does not show bone abnormalities however MRI will show subchondral bone injuries with regard to Charcot foot.

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