Diabetic Charcot Foot

Charcot arthropathy, also called Charcot foot, is often found in persons with nerve damage and diabetes because nerve damage doesn't allow for the feeling of foot pain. An injury that goes untreated can cause the foot bone to lose calcium and cause fractures, sores or change the shape of your foot. Other complications of Charcot foot include curled toes and a twisted and unsteady ankle.

Charcot foot affects people with diabetes or people who have nerve damage in their foot from other conditions, including:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • An infection
  • Foot sore that doesn’t heal
  • Foot surgery
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Syphilis

Charcot Foot Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Charcot arthropathy can be difficult to diagnose. Often initial lab tests or X-ray images may not show Charcot foot. The specialists at Penn State Health have experience in diagnosing this condition and are regional experts in treating diabetic foot issues. Typical symptoms include:

  • Foot is warm to touch
  • Red flush color on foot
  • Swelling and pain

If you have Charcot foot or other diabetic foot conditions need to have regular foot care with a podiatrists to manage symptoms and help maintain your quality of life.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute

Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).

Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.

Confidence in Treatment Through Education

We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.

Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research

The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.

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