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What is Charcot Foot?

Charcot Foot Diagram
Image source: Cleveland Clinic 2023

Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking, the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape, creating a rocker-bottom foot deformity and appearance. 

Charcot foot is a serious condition that can lead to severe deformity, disability and even amputation. Because of its seriousness, it is important that patients living with diabetes—a disease often associated with neuropathy—take preventive measures and seek immediate care if signs or symptoms appear.

Early symptoms of Charcot foot include:

  • Foot pain

  • Discoloration or redness

  • Swelling

  • A feeling of heat or warmth (especially one foot feeling noticeably warmer than the other)

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