Diabetes affects millions of people in the United States, and hundreds of men and women in the Scottsdale area. Many of these sufferers deal with foot pain and problems stemming from nerve damage or poor circulation. Charcot arthropathy, or Charcot foot, refers to extensive nerve and muscle damage that can lead to serious infections, make walking difficult, and even result in the loss of the whole foot. Fortunately, a well-qualified podiatrist can help diabetic individuals who suffer from this painful condition. Here is a look at how a foot doctor in Scottsdale can treat Charcot foot.

Nonsurgical Treatment

In the earlier stages of Charcot foot, a podiatrist generally fits the area with a cast or cast boot to protect the foot and ankle and reduce any swelling. To keep weight off the foot, a foot specialist may also advise the patient to use crutches or a wheelchair. A podiatrist will then change the cast every week or two as swelling decreases. When the initial swelling has gone down, a foot doctor may recommend a custom walking boot or diabetic shoe to lower the risk of ulcers.

Surgical Treatment

For Charcot foot sufferers, surgery is sometimes necessary due to a high risk for ulcers or the failure of preventive footwear. Ulcers in the front of the foot that do not respond to a period of casting may be treated through Achilles tendon lengthening, which decreases the pressure on the foot and allows the ulcer to heal. A more severe deformity that may require surgery is the appearance of a very large bony bump on the bottom of the foot. A foot and ankle specialist will choose the type of surgery based on the stability of the patient’s foot. For example, if one bone is clearly prominent, it can simply be shaved off. However, if the bones are too loose at the site of the prominence, a podiatrist will likely fuse and reposition the bones.