Diabetes Patients – How to Treat or Avoid Charcot Foot

About 6% of the US population, or about 16 million people, suffer from diabetes, a condition in which the levels of sugar in the blood are abnormally high. The incidence of diabetes is also shooting up in other developed countries as well as in Africa. One of the greatest issues with diabetes is the diabetic foot, which is a prime reason for hospitalization of a diabetic patient.

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Foot problems in diabetes are very common because of two factors: circulation is impaired, and the nerves are damaged. In fact, the first leads to the second. This results in the occurrence of Charcot arthropathy or diabetic joint disease of the foot. This is a common cause of foot deformity and of disability in such patients.

Treatment options are varied but the mainstay of health care for Charcot foot is preventive care – something which Rehab My Patient can advise through appropriate exercises.

This involves daily foot inspections to detect any problems as early as possible. This is absolutely necessary to achieve good health and to prevent the development of foot disease.

Anatomy of Diabetic Foot

A diabetic individual has weakened blood vessels, as a result of which the circulation to the foot is reduced. This causes the bones to become fragile, and the joints of the foot and of the ankle literally break down. This is why such individuals are at high risk of fractures in the bones of the foot.

Treatment of Diabetic Foot

Casts and boots

Casts are used in early stages of development of a diabetic foot to keep the ankle and foot bones safe from displacement and injury. A cast or a boot is helpful in decreasing swelling as well. The affected individual must stay off the foot until the bones show signs of healing which may occur in three months or even more. The cast is also replaced every 1-2 weeks to allow for tissue shrinkage as the swelling reduces.

Custom Shoes

Specialized boots are needed to protect the foot from uneven stresses and prevent ulcers. They are ordered for patients who cannot wear ordinary shoes because of the poor fit. They are used only after the acute swelling has gone down and the bones show some evidence of knitting together again.


A foot deformity may prevent protective shoe wearing and may increase the risk of ulcers forming. In such a case, foot surgery is required. In patients with dislocated bones or if the fractures are unstable, surgery is a must to restore the right position and promote healing. Different types of surgeries must be treated with different surgical interventions.

Helpful information recommended by Rehab My Patient

The doctor will tell you when to put your weight on the injured foot and this advice must be meticulously followed. Early intervention produces the best results.

Daily foot inspections and frequent blood glucose estimation is essential. At any subsequent visit, any area which appears red, cracked, ulcerated or swollen must be paid attention to.

Swelling is an early sign of Charcot foot and may signal it even when no other injury is seen at the time.

Rehab My Patient

About Rehab My Patient

Rehab My Patient is an intuitive and easy to use exercise prescription software used by many physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and sports therapists.

All the exercises are adapted to the individual needs of each patient requiring phyiotherapy. Many of the exercises are evidence-based.

It is possible to choose from more than 2500 different exercises with HD videos, created from leading experts in physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, and sports rehabilitation.

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Last updated: Mar 13, 2018 at 10:52 AM

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