Surgical Treatment for Charcot Arthropathy of the Foot and Ankle

Charcot foot is caused by neuropathy most commonly from diabetes, which is nerve damage. This neuropathy causes pain in the feet and ankles, and ultimately weakens the bones enough to change the foot’s shape. As the condition progresses, the ankle and foot bones collapse and create an abnormal shape, making movement difficult. You may also see Charcot foot referred to as Charcot arthropathy or neuroarthropathy.

Charcot reconstruction is a surgical treatment used when other treatments have been unsuccessful.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of Charcot arthropathy of the foot and ankle include:

  • Difficulty walking or carrying out everyday activities
  • Diminished sensation in the foot
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

The team of orthopaedic surgeons at Penn State Health will use X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the extent of your Charcot arthropathy. We will work together with your health care team to determine the best treatment path, including reconstruction surgery, if all noninvasive options are exhausted.

If you need Charcot reconstruction surgery, our nationally recognized surgical team will create a comprehensive surgical plan to address your foot’s specific reconstruction needs. Patients who require Charcot reconstruction have a long recovery that includes physical therapy. However, most patients find newfound flexibility and mobility once they return to their daily activities.

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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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