Charcot foot, also referred to as Charcot neuroarthropathy, was first described in the late 1800s. The disease process links foot and ankle neuropathy to ensuing joint degeneration and collapse resulting in severe limb threatening deformities. The loss of sensation and pain perception that occurs in patients results in continued weight bearing and stress of the weakened joints. This leads to bone fractures and further destruction of the joint and soft tissue. After a period of acute inflammation, structural weakening occurs followed by eventual healing or consolidation, at which point the bone is deformed.
Treatment for this severe and disabling condition is necessary to avoid further degeneration and breakdown of the skeletal and soft tissue structures. Surgical and conservative care options are available and vary in complexity depending upon the severity of the injury sustained.