Early management and treatment of Charcot foot can prevent more damage and avoid deformity and other complications. Treatment has three goals: take the weight off your foot, treat bone disease (usually with a cast; bisphosphonates and other supplements are sometimes used), and prevent foot fractures from occurring or worsening.
Diabetic Foot Problems
People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that can be severe.
The first and most important form of treatment is to rest and to take the weight off of your affected foot. In the early stage of Charcot foot, by taking the weight off your foot you can prevent inflammation and stop the condition from getting worse.
Treatment may involve putting your foot into a cast, which protects it and keeps it from moving. You may wear a series of casts or a removable cast walker for a total of 8 to 12 weeks. Your doctor may also suggest crutches, a knee walker, or a wheelchair to avoid putting any weight on the affected foot. The cast will remain on your foot until the redness and swelling have resolved.
After removing the cast, you will be given a prescription for footwear. The footwear properly fits your foot and relieves pressure points to prevent a repeat injury and ulcers. A common device used is a Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker (CROW). Your doctor may also recommend changes in your activity to avoid further trauma to your feet.
Surgery may be recommended if you have severe ankle and foot deformities that are unstable and at high risk of developing a foot ulcer. If the deformity makes braces and orthotics difficult to use, surgery may be required. After surgery, you will have to avoid putting full weight on the Charcot foot for an extended period of time.
You will have to be dedicated to wearing protective footwear and taking extra care of your feet for the rest of your life. Preventive foot care is an important part of preventing future problems.