Charcot Foot

Charcot foot is a disabling deformity where the joints and bones of the foot begin to break down and collapse. Patients cannot feel these injuries, and they may continue to walk on the foot. This worsens the damage.

Causes of charcot foot

Charcot foot is a deformity that can result as a complication of diabetes. It can also develop after any condition that causes loss of sensation in the legs and feet e.g. infection, alcohol use or spinal cord injury.

Non operative treatment for charcot foot

In the early stages:

  • A series of casts or boots to protect the foot and ankle
  • Not weight bearing on the affected leg
Surgery for charcot foot

Surgery is considered in the later stages of charcot foot when there is significant pain and deformity.

  • Exostectomy
    Removing bony prominences that are interfering with proper weight distribution

  • Achilles tendon lengthening
    Releasing the tension on the tendon to reduce the stress on the bones of the foot

  • Fusion surgery
    Using screws and plates to connect the bones that are causing pain during movement by stopping them from moving

Risks of charcot foot surgery

All surgery has risks involved, however every effort is made to reduce these risks. Risks include but are not limited to:

  • Infection: superficial wounds or deep infections
  • Clots: DVT (deep venous thrombosis) or PE (pulmonary embolus)
  • Nerve damage: tingling, numbness or burning
  • Ongoing pain
  • Stiffness of the ankle joint
  • General or anaesthetic risks including to the heart and lung
  • Drug reactions/allergy
  • Scarring or tethering of the skin
  • Rerupture or recurrence of deformity
  • Calf weakness
  • Revision surgery

There are increased risks of surgery in diabetics, smokers, significant peripheral vascular disease, severe neuropathy, previous or current infection which may preclude a patient from surgery.

View FootForward for Diabetes (run by Diabetes Australia) for more information on foot care.  

For all appointments and enquiries, please phone 07 5645 6913 or email

9 Kinloch Avenue
Benowa QLD 4217


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