Charcot Foot

Charcot’s foot is a bony deformity that can lead to serious disability and damage.  This usually occurs in people who have neuropathy, where they have diminished or no sensation in their feet that is usually the result of diabetes.  This can lead to deformity in the bones of the foot.

Imbalance can cause a person with neuropathy to have an abnormal gait.  This can cause the joints in the foot to eventually collapse causing a deformity such as a complete collapse of the arch and flattening of the foot.  Since there is no feeling in the feet because of the neuropathy, if one continues to walk on the affected foot it can cause further injury such as diabetic/pressure ulcers.


  • Early onset includes swelling of the foot.  This can occur without an obvious injury.
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Instability of the joint
  • Misalignment of the bones that form a joint (subluxation).
  • Strong pulse
  • Dislocation of the joint.

Those with Charcot do not usually feel any pain as they have no sensation in their feet.


The main goal of treatment is to heal the broken bones and prevent further damage.

  • A cast to protect the foot and ankle. It reduces swelling and protects the bones.  The patient must be non-weight bearing and it can take up to 3 months for the injured foot to heal.
  • A specialized custom boot or diabetic shoe.  This decreases the risk of ulcers and is recommended once the swelling has gone down and the bones have begun to fuse.
  • Various surgical procedures for advanced cases where a cast or specialized shoe will not work.

The sooner Charcot foot is diagnosed the better the outcome for the patient.  X-rays are usually done to diagnose Charcot along with the accompanying symptoms. Patients should check their feet on a daily basis and control blood sugar levels.

For more information on Charcot’s foot, or to book an assessment, please call Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us at