Signs are useful tools. They help direct you to where you are going and identify your destination when you’re looking for particular places, like a restaurant or Sleeping Giant State Park. Problems often have signs, too—warning signs. These could be overt, like sign posts that warn of rip currents at a beach. They can also be subtle, like a change in the air before a storm. Serious diabetic foot conditions like Charcot foot have warning signs and symptoms; you simply have to stay aware to identify them. That’s one more reason you absolutely must be paying attention to feet with diabetes.
Charcot foot is a very serious complication of diabetes in the lower limbs. It causes a complete breakdown of the bones in the arch, which can severely deform your foot and potentially require an amputation to prevent life-threatening side effects. The problem is, because it only develops in feet with severe neuropathy and significant numbness, you usually don’t feel it worsening. You might not notice a problem until there’s already a lot of damage.
So how do you watch for a deformity you may not feel? You have to pay attention to warning signs. Here are a few symptoms of Charcot foot that could help you identify the problem:
- Swelling – Swelling without an obvious injury is one of the first and most important signs of damage.
- Redness and heat – You may notice areas of your midfoot appear red and feel warm to the touch, even when you don’t have an obvious injury.
- Ulcers – Ulcers suddenly developing in the middle of the foot may be a sign that the bones have broken down and is now putting abnormal pressure on unusual places.
- Bone deformity – An obvious change or deformity in your foot or ankle shape means the damage is already severe.