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Foot Ankle Int. 2005 Jan;26(1):46-63.

Current topics review: Charcot neuroarthropathy of the foot and ankle.

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Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba, MS673-820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3A 1R9.


Charcot arthropathy is a destructive process, most commonly affecting joints of the foot and ankle in diabetics with peripheral neuropathy. Affected individuals present with swelling, warmth, and erythema, often without history of trauma. Bony fragmentation, fracture, and dislocation progress to foot deformity, bony prominence, and instability. This often causes ulceration and deep infection that may necessitate amputation. Instability or deformity may limit the ability to use standard footwear. Treatment is focused on providing a stable and plantigrade foot for functional ambulation with accommodative footwear and orthoses. Historically, treatment had included nonweightbearing immobilization for the acute phase, and surgery had been reserved only for infection, unresolved skin ulceration, or deformity that precluded the use of therapeutic footwear. Current controversies include weightbearing in the acute or reparative phases and early surgical stabilization. Foot-specific patient education and continued periodic monitoring may reduce the morbidity and associated expense of treating the complications of this disorder and may improve the quality of life in this complex patient population.

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