Charcot joints also known as neuropathic arthropathy is a condition that affects diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy after period of eight to ten years. Peripheral neuropathy is the loss of sensation.
Charcot joints can also affect people who have syphilis, leprosy and charcot-marie tooth disease.
Charcot joint symptoms vary depending with the stage. It has three stages. The first stage is the destruction or the fragmentation stage. At this stage the bones are destroyed becoming less stable. In some cases the bones are completely reabsorbed. This stage can be identified by a swelling which is accompanied by pain and warmth on the affected area. The second stage is called coalescence. During this stage there is the destructive process slows down and the body try to heal itself. The swelling and heat disappears.
The third stage is the consolidation or the reconstruction phase. The bones and joints usually heat but in cases of massive destruction there may be residual instability.
Charcot joints can be treated using home remedies. Some of these home remedies include;
This can be done by casting. This allows patients to ambulate so as to prevent deformity progression. Casts should be checked every week so as to evaluate proper fit and replaced after 1 to 2 weeks. Patients who suffer from concomitant ulceration should change then casts every week so as to evaluate ulcers and debriment. Radiographs should be taken monthly during the acute phase so as to evaluate the progress. Casting is very important for 2 to 6 months and is only discontinued based on radiographic, clinical and dermal thermometric signs of quiescence. There are other methods of immobilization. These include ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) and metal braces.
Get The Heat And Swelling Under Control
Controlling the heat and swelling can help in speeding up the process of healing. Heat and cold therapy can help in controlling heat and swelling. Applying cold therapy can help in reducing swelling and heat.
Use of Crutches, Casts
Crutches can be helpful when you are on the recovery stage as they help in providing support to the body so as to prevent injuries that can be as a result of a fall. Casts can also help in preventing the progression of deformity. For the casts to be helpful they have to be changed every week so as to evaluate for proper fit. Casting can be for about 3 to 6 months.
Use of Wheelchair
Wheelchair can be help in reducing the activities the affected area is subjected to. Wheelchair helps in resting the affected area which is good for healing processes.
Custom Shoes And Bracing
Custom shoes can be helpful in ensuring that you feel comfortable while walking. Custom shoes can be made for you upon request. Braces can also be helpful as they protect the foot. When the case is removed you can wear a brace. There are several types of braces that you can use. Some of these braces include a patellar tendon bearing brace, a Charcot restraint walker (CROW), accommodative footwear that have modified ankle foot orthoses(AFOs) and a double metal upright AFO. AFOs can be helpful but can prolong the healing time. Custom shoes can include extra depth shoes with rigid soles and a plastic or metal shank. A rocker bottom sole can be use in case you have ulcers. If you have inservate feet plastazote inserts can be used. The regimen can be removed after 6 to 24 months but on condition that clinical, external thermographic radiographic findings say it’s necessary. Custom footwear can be used in post acute phase so as to help in protection and support. Total healing takes approximately 1to 2 years
Limiting Activities That Cause The Conditions
Avoiding activities that can cause Charcot joints can be helpful. It’s better to prevent that to treat. Preventing further injuries reporting trauma, checking your feet everyday, receiving professional foot care and noting temperature changes can be helpful when treating the condition.
Use of Supplements
Supplements can be helpful in treating Charcot joints. Supplements that contain bisphosphonates can help in inhibiting the bones resorption. Incase you are not sure of the supplements to use it is advisable to discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Charcot antropathy requires long term management so as to ensure that the patient is stable. You can seek services of foot and ankle specialists for counseling and education regarding the care of special need and the feet.