Neuropathic joint charcot treatment

Charcot joint, a condition medically known as neuropathic osteoarthropathy, is a degenerative condition of the weight bearing joints. The condition often affects the feet, which is why it is sometimes known as Charcot foot, but it can affect other weight bearing joints too, particularly the knees. The affected joint is typically afflicted by swelling and bleeding. The bone itself is usually damaged by this condition, and in some cases, a severe infection could take hold. In the most severe cases, the affected limb must eventually be amputated, and patients are even known to succumb to this disease. Surprisingly, this condition is mostly asymptomatic, especially in the early stages, thus making diagnosis difficult. The only indication is swelling in the affected joint. It is only when x-rays are taken that the damage to the cartilage and bone is discovered.

Charcot joint is thus an extremely serious and dangerous condition, and it is important to start treating it at the earliest. First of all, you need to identify what has caused this condition to develop - this is a very important part of the diagnosis. Very often, conditions such as diabetes mellitus, which cause peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage and decreased or abnormal sensations) are responsible. Conditions such as leprosy and cerebral palsy are also known to cause neuropathic osteoarthropathy, and injuries to the spinal cord are another factor. Diabetes however is probably the most frequent cause of Charcot joint. Whatever the cause may be, it is extremely important that this underlying condition is brought under control. This is something that you will need to discuss with your doctor.

Unfortunately, treatment options for Charcot joint itself are rather limited. The condition is progressive, and even after the underlying disease is under control, the degeneration of the affected joints may continue, although at a slower rate. It is very important to minimize strain on the joint in order to limit the damage. While the underlying disease is being treated, you may need to wear a cast and refrain from using the affected limb at all. Later, you may be able to use the limb, but it is generally advisable to use crutches, so as to avoid putting too much weight on the affected joint. If you are overweight, it is important that you try to lose some of your excess weight. You must restrict your intake of fatty food and junk food. Exercise options are of course limited, and only your doctor will be able to guide you here.

answered by G M

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