Frogs and Pots: How Charcot Foot Develops
You’ve likely heard the tale that a frog left in a pot will calmly sit there and let itself get boiled alive if you turn the heat up slowly enough. Well, this just isn’t true. First, have you ever tried to get a frog to sit still for any length of time, anywhere? They’re not that kind of critter! Second, a frog’s nervous system is more than capable of detecting dangerous heat levels and responding accordingly.
Now, if a frog’s nerves are deadened to sensations, that’s when bad things can happen. That’s exactly the way it goes in cases of Charcot foot, a collapse of the foot that can go undetected in the people who are experiencing it.
When the body’s circulation suffers through the effects of diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or other conditions, the feet can be among the first parts of the body to suffer. Since they are so far from the heart, they need a strong blood system to provide oxygen and nourishment. As the flow slows, nerves in the feet can begin to practically starve and die out. This is known as peripheral neuropathy.
As neuropathy worsens, the ability to sense pain diminishes. Injuries to the foot can start to go unnoticed. Combine this with an overall weakening of the foot’s bones and healing abilities due to poor blood flow and the foot becomes particularly vulnerable.
Now imagine being completely unaware of a pained, fragile foot and continuing to walk on it. Bones can break and shift over time, causing deformities and sores. It can get to the point where the foot becomes infected and poses a big risk to one’s life. That’s Charcot foot, and it’s no laughing matter.
If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, taking the time to check your feet daily can prevent the metaphorical pot from reaching a boil. We can stand in your corner with the best in diabetic foot care advice and treatment, too. Contact Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper at (812) 481-7200 to schedule an appointment with us today.