What is Charcot Foot?

The Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services performs an important function – granting permits for commercial and residential construction. When determining whether or not to approve proposed construction projects (and while inspecting buildings), this governmental agency is tasked with ensuring that buildings are safe for us citizens who will enter them. One of the key considerations in approving the work is assessing the stability of a building’s foundation.

Buildings aren’t the only places where a stable foundation is an important feature, of course. To find another example, you need not look any further than your own body!

When you consider how we are structured, it really falls onto our feet and ankles to keep us stable, upright, and mobile. For this reason, Charcot foot is a serious medical issue—you can think of it as being “an amputation waiting to happen”—that needs to be addressed, preferably at the earliest possible stages.

If you are unfamiliar with this particular condition, Charcot arthropathy is when the foot develops significant deformity when poor circulation and nerve damage are both present in the body. Poor circulation plays a role because it deprives the bones in the feet of the nourishment they need for strength. Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) can result in diminished sensations in the feet.

When the peripheral nerves are unable to report damage to the brain—in the form of pain—weakened bones can break without detection, be left unattended, and then sustain greater damage over time. (For this reason, we call it the “gift of pain.”) The cycle will continue to repeat itself until the deformity becomes extreme.

Although these techniques might lie somewhere between less-than-pleasant and outright painful, there are definite benefits to these kinds of massages. In the Graston technique, connective tissues and muscle fibers are stretched, while at the same time scar tissue can be broken down. Rolfing technique focuses on improved function of the body and long-term alignment by manipulating soft tissues.

So, they might not feel good, but they can do good.

To give an effective massage, start with low pressure and gradually build it up. Once at an appropriate level—not too hard, but not too gentle either—hold for about 30-50 seconds.

The amount of pressure applied during a massage session will depend on factors like how damaged or fatigued muscles are and tolerance of the person receiving the massage. (A good masseuse needs to be able to read the person to make sure an appropriate amount of pressure is being used!)

If you find a trigger point—and these can include specific, isolated muscles (indicated by a knot)—have the person receiving the massage take a deep breath while the area is being worked. Once you are done, they will let out a big sigh of relief.

You may wish to use a lubricant while performing a massage, and a great option to consider is almond oil. Of course, there are any scented and unscented types of oils that can also work quite well.

Regarding locations that can receive the most amount of relief, you may find the plantar fascia, abductor halluces, foot arch, and the small muscles at the base of the toes (between the metatarsals) will receive the greatest benefit.

Another area you might want to target is where the first metatarsal bone meets the midfoot bones. (There is a deep, bony lump at this point.)

The plantar fascia running along the underside of the foot attaches to many tiny muscles, which is why it feels so good to have this particular tissues massaged – something to keep in mind when giving your valentine his or her foot massage!

Keeping the spirit of Valentine’s Day in mind, show your feet some love this year by making sure you come see us as soon as problems develop. Remember, almost all medical conditions—including injuries and ailments in your lower limbs—are most easily resolved at their earliest stages. If you’re suffering from foot or ankle pain, we can help- so give us a call at (317) 545-0505.

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Indianapolis, IN 46216

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