Charcot Foot

Charcot foot, also called neuropathic arthropathy or neuropathic osteoarthropathy, is a condition that affects the feet and ankle bones, joints and soft tissues. It makes them weaker and more prone to breaking or dislocating. If untreated, the foot collapses and becomes deformed, which can cause ulcers or other wounds.

Charcot foot is a condition that affects people with Peripheral Neuropathy. Because Peripheral Neuropathy affects the nerves of the feet, and causes a loss of sensation, people may not feel the damage until it is advanced, resulting in infections and amputation.

Making time for daily foot checks, building good habits and regular healthcare appointments can help you prevent Charcot Foot.

Foot Ulcer

A foot ulcer is a sore or open wound that won’t heal or keeps returning. They happen when the outer layer of your skin is damaged and the deeper tissue becomes exposed. Some people with diabetes can develop Peripheral Neuropathy – a complication that causes you to lose feeling in your feet and legs. This can mean you don’t notice scapes, cuts or punctures in your feet and toes, which can lead to an ulcer forming.

Foot ulcers need to be treated straight away to avoid infection. If they aren’t treated, ulcers can lead to infections. Sometimes the only way to treat these infections is through amputation of the toe, foot or leg. This is why daily foot care, regular GP check ups, and building good habits are so important to protect your feet.

Common symptoms

In the early stages:

  • A patch of dry, cracked or scaly skin.
  • Redness or rash on your feet

In the later stages:

  • A callus, thickened skin or halo (ring) around the center of the wound that feels harder than the skin around it.
  • Drainage and fluid (you might see this in your socks when you take them off), which is a sign that you might have an infection.
  • Inflamed, red and swollen skin
  • A brown discoloration or strong odor.

Contact your GP for advice immediately if you have any of the following problems:

  • A red, hot, swollen toe or foot
  • A new break or wound in the skin
  • New redness or discolouration of your toe or foot
  • New or unexplained pain in your foot

If your GP is not available, and there is no sign of your foot healing within 24 hours, go to your local emergency department.

LOPS: Loss of Protective Sensation

Loss Of Protective Sensation happens when there has been nerve damage to an area. If you have diabetes, this damage may be caused by persistently high blood glucose levels, which can damage nerves and your ability to feel things properly.

People who develop loss of protective sensation lose feeling in their feet, which means that you won’t feel cuts, wounds or burns. Small injuries like these can develop into an ulcer, which can need amputation of your toe, foot or leg if it is not picked up quickly.

Common symptoms

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Pain, especially at night

These changes are very gradual, so lots of people don’t notice them at first. This is why it’s important to schedule regular foot check ups with your GP, at least once or twice per year.

PAD: Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, is poor circulation due to a buildup of plaque (fats and cholesterol blockages) in your arteries. This makes it harder for your blood to carry oxygen and nutrients around your body. If this happens in your legs, this can cause pain, cramps and complications like ulcers and infection.

Common symptoms

  • Leg pain or cramping when walking or exercising
  • Feelings of numbness, weakness, heaviness or tiredness in your legs
  • A burning or aching pain in your feet and toes while resting, especially at night while lying flat.
  • Noticing your foot feels cool or cold to touch
  • Redness or other color changes of your skin.
  • More frequent infections, and sores that don’t heal.

Making time for daily foot checks, building good habits and regular healthcare appointments can help you manage PAD and catch symptoms early.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy, sometimes just called Neuropathy, is damage to the nerves in your body. For people with diabetes, this commonly starts in your hands or feet (the peripheries of your body) but can progress to other areas too. It is different to Peripheral Arterial Disease, because it affect the nerves rather than the blood vessels.

Peripheral neuropathy can cause nerve pain and a loss of feeling (also called Loss of Protective Sensation). This means you can’t feel injuries to your feet, which can result in ulcers. If these aren’t caught quickly, sometimes the only treatment is amputation of your toe, foot or leg. This is why daily foot care, regular GP check ups, and building good habits are so important to protect your feet.

Common symptoms

  • Numbness
  • Not being able to feel things in your feet and hands – feeling like you’re wearing socks or gloves when you’re not.
  • Tingling, Pins and Needles
  • Weakness, muscle twitches, cramps or spasms
  • Burning, throbbing or stabbing pain
  • Prickly, sharp pain that can feel like an electrical current
  • Severe pain, especially at night
  • Not being able to feel pain, pressure, temperature or touch.
  • Feeling uncoordinated, dropping things, losing your balance or falling over
  • Sweating too much or not enough, regardless of temperature or exercise 

More resources to support your journey to healthy feet

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Foot health check takes approx 2 mins