To be diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is to recognise is that you have a condition that will require monitoring for the rest of your life. The condition can be perfectly manageable, just as long as you follow your doctor's advice with regards to any dietary and exercise recommendations, as well as with any medication that might be required. You will be told about the complications that can arise as a result of diabetes, and perhaps one of the most serious complications is neuropathic arthropathy, which is also known as Charcot foot. This can affect your mobility if it's not recognised and treated. So what exactly are the warning signs for Charcot foot? And how can it be treated?
The Nerves in Your Feet
A continually elevated blood sugar level can damage nerve fibres throughout your body. This is most pronounced in your extremities, namely your hands and feet. Charcot foot can develop when the nerves in your feet become damaged, meaning that the very signals being sent from your brain do not translate into correct movement when you stand and walk. You are still able to stand and walk, and yet the continual imbalance can cause the bones and ligaments in your feet to become damaged. The joints in your feet become stiff, and the imbalance results in an uneven distribution of pressure. This can cause fluid to build up, and even for the bones in your feet to become misaligned. In extreme cases, your feet can actually become deformed.
Regular inspection of your feet is mandatory to prevent against Charcot foot. Nerve damage can result in reduced sensitivity, so a physical inspection is required as you might not necessarily be able to feel the development of Charcot foot. Look for skin that appears to be turning red and is warm to the touch. A buildup of fluid can also result in swelling. You might also find that your gait (forward motion when you walk) is affected. If you notice any of these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible. They might refer you to a foot specialist for a more detailed assessment.
Some aspects of Charcot foot can be reversed if the condition is noticed early enough. If your bones have become misaligned, foot surgery can be required to return them to their correct position. You might need to spend some time in crutches (or even in a wheelchair) while these bones repair themselves.
Charcot foot can generally be avoided when your condition is properly managed. Even so, it's important to be aware of the symptoms so that the worst aspects of the affliction can be avoided. For more information, visit a foot specialist.
My kid is a bit of a monkey, and no matter how many times I tell him to slow down and take care, he keeps climbing and leaping off things. That's why we are dealing with yet another broken arm from a crazy playground fall. We are becoming quite the experts on managing plaster casts and talking to orthopedists. This blog is all about how children have accidents on the playground, and it has some tips on how to manage common playground injuries like broken bones. I have advice from parents like me as well as from orthopedic staff who see lots of these injuries.