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Charcot Foot (Severe Foot Deformity)

We treat many foot and ankle problems for our patients, but the ones associated with diabetes are especially concerning.

In the case of Charcot foot, diabetes has damaged the nervous and circulatory systems to the point where your bones are malnourished and weakened from lack of blood flow and, due to nerve damage, you cannot feel when they break. Since you are unaware of the problem, you continue walking around as you normally would. By doing so, further structural damage occurs.

The cycle continues until a foot is severely misshapen and the only “fix” is amputation.

If you have diabetes and/or realize you’ve developed this serious condition, please give us the chance to do everything we can to protect and hopefully save your feet. Either call our Indianapolis office at (317) 545-0505 or connect with us online to schedule an appointment.

How can you recognize Charcot foot?

Perhaps the best starting point for recognizing Charcot foot is knowing what this ailment is and why it develops.

And we say that because if you know you have diabetes and diabetic neuropathy (and more than half of individuals afflicted with diabetes do), then you can see that the necessary conditions for Charcot foot are in place.

If you have that awareness and aren’t already affected, you’re in a good spot. Now, you need to take the next step and make sure you have a diabetic foot care plan (and are following it).

Sadly, we know that doesn’t apply to everyone.

There’s a chance you’re reading this right now and hadn’t previously heard of Charcot foot, and yet you already have it.

So how do you know?

As we’ve noted, you might not be able to feel your foot bones break, but there are other symptoms you can experience, including:

  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Warmth to the touch
  • Swelling (especially when there wasn’t an obvious injury or explanation for it)
  • Physical deformity

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for reducing your risk of amputation. If you recognize any of these symptoms or know you have a high risk, schedule the earliest possible appointment with our office so Dr. Leibovitz can evaluate the situation and create a plan for you.

What kind of treatment options are there?

Treatment for the condition depends on a variety of factors, including the stage and severity of the deformity, other existing medical issues, and your wellbeing.

With regard to conservative treatment methods, the following tactics might be used:

  • Immobilization – During early stages, the ankle and foot are especially fragile and must be protected. To prevent further collapse and give the weakened bones the opportunity to repair themselves, affected feet should not bear weight. This means no walking until it has been approved, at which point a cast, brace, or removable boot might be used (possibly along with a wheelchair or crutches).
  • Bracing and custom shoes – After the bones have healed and you are able to resume daily activities, shoes with special inserts might be used to prevent ulcers, amputation, and even recurrence of the Charcot foot. Bracing can also be used in cases where there is significant deformity.
  • Activity modification – In order to prevent repeated trauma in both feet, activity levels will need to be modified.

In cases where surgery is necessary, we will provide a recommendation to a trusted surgeon.

Can Charcot foot be prevented?

To prevent a case of Charcot foot, we encourage patients to practice diligent diabetic foot care, including:

  • Conducting thorough daily foot inspections
  • Regularly coming in for check-ups with our office
  • Monitoring and managing blood glucose levels to reduce the progress of neuropathy

Always contact us immediately if anything is out of the ordinary.

When we consider a medical issue like this, it is simply best to prevent it from happening in the first place. We can help by working with you to create a diabetic foot care plan based on protection and proactive measures to keep you safe.

After prevention, early care is the next best option.

 As soon as you recognize the warning signs of Charcot foot, schedule your appointment with us right away. Contact our Indianapolis podiatry office for all of your diabetic foot care needs by calling (317) 545-0505 or fill out our online form today to schedule your appointment.


9505 E. 59th St., Suite A
Indianapolis, IN 46216

Phone Number

(317) 545-0505

Telephone Hours

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