Charcot neuro-osteoarthropathy (CN) is among the most devastating complications of neuropathy and now most commonly occurs in the feet of diabetic patients. Because it is relatively rare and because most patients and practitioners do not expect major bone pathology in the absence of significant pain, CN is often misdiagnosed as cellulitis, deep venous thrombosis, or gout. Also, radiographs early in the process are often relatively unremarkable. Although MRI findings are characteristic, treatment should not wait for the MRI result. The hot swollen erythematous neuropathic foot suspected to be CN should be emergently mechanically protected, usually in an irremovable total contact cast. Mechanical protection is the mainstay of conservative therapy, but surgical reconstruction of a deformed foot can usually also be successful. Unless diagnosed very early, significant decrements in quality of life result. Controlled studies are urgently needed to identify best practices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Internal Medicine