Vigilant. adjective vig·i·lant \ ˈvi-jə-lənt \
Webster’s defines the word vigilant as “alertly watchful especially to avoid danger.” It’s what’s required when you’ve got a chronic disease such as diabetes. Being ever-watchful, like the little kid who’s parked himself at the window hoping for a chance to see Santa’s sleigh, becomes not a once-a-year thing but a several-times-a-day thing. Having to constantly manage health issues like blood sugar levels and high cholesterol is tough enough. And then you realize that even tougher ramifications of diabetes can develop down the road, such as conditions like Charcot foot.
Paying attention to your feet is an absolute necessity for those with diabetes. Eventually, you’re likely to lose sensation in your feet and not be able to feel that there’s something wrong. Charcot foot is a syndrome that not only worsens neuropathy (loss of feeling) but also causes dislocations and fractures of the bones or joints in your foot.
The facts about Charcot foot
- Bones become weak and brittle and break easily. Neuropathy means a patient might continue to walk on broken bones and not even know it.
- Arches can collapse and change the foot’s shape.
- Unless treated, the affected foot will likely develop sores, which in diabetics can be very slow to heal, leading to open wounds, infections, and the risk of amputation.
- Treatment options are limited to wearing special shoes, boots, or braces to stabilize the shaky bones and joints and minimize the risk of ulcers.
- Surgical correction may also be an option to reshape the Charcot foot and return it to its normal function.
Diabetics should remain vigilant to the signs of Charcot foot disease, the earliest of which include swelling, redness and warmth to the touch. Left untreated, these symptoms can set off a chain of events, leading to the broken bones and foot deformation that are the hallmark of this debilitating disease.
Prevent Charcot foot by examining your diabetic foot daily. Make an appointment with expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland at the earliest sign of foot troubles. Your vigilance truly can save a limb. Contact us at (440) 903-1041 or visit us online. We offer early, late, and Saturday hours by appointment at our podiatry office in Solon, Ohio.