Archive for August, 2012

Who Might Have Charcot?

There are some 24 diseases that cause Charcot Foot to become more distructive. The following list of diseases by Ali Nawaz Khan MBBS Riyadh, Saudi Arabia appeared in an article in emedicine on Feb. 21, 2007.

* Diabetes
* Use of Corticosteriods
* Alcoholism
* Trauma
* Infection
* Amyloidosis
* Prenicious anemia
* Syphilis
* Syringomyelia
* Spina Bifida
* Myelomeningocele
* Leprosy
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Congenital vascular disease
* Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
* Cord compression
* Asymbolia
* Connective disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and sclerodema
* Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
* Raynaud disease
* Adrenal Hypercorticism
* Thalidomide Embryopathy (congenital Arthropathy in offspring of exposed mothers)
* Paraneoplastic sensory neuropathy
* Cauda Equine Lipoma

Since diabetes heads the list, diabetics need to be aware that this article says 15% of the diabetic population has Charcot Foot and a 2004 University of Washington study states that 1/600-700 diabetics with diabetes mellitus neuropathy has Charcot Foot.

Charcot is, apparently, difficult to diagnose and is very often miss diagnosed as arthritis. One needs to find a Charcot knowledgeable professional. A podiatrist DPM, or a foot and ankle specialist (surgeon) DPM, FACFAS who is able to diagnose correctly.

Since neuropathy is a loss of sensation in the foot, one is unable to detect painful sensations. A doctor once told me a patient came into her office unable to remove his shoe and couldn’t understand why. When she looked at the bottom of the shoe she found a nail. It had gone through the shoe and well into his foot. It was removed and the shoe taken off to reveal a traumatic situation. Because of Neuropathy much goes undetected that could save the foot and individual from pain.

If you don’t have someone to help you check your feet, place a mirror on the floor that can be used to check your feet daily. Also, avoid going bare foot.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

What Is Charcot?

Charcot foot, Charcot foot (neuropathic osteoarthropathy) deformity, is a serious progressive and disfiguring condition often unrecognized because of loss of sensation. The area of the foot most commonly affected is the mid arch. It can also develop in the rearfoot and ankle.

Neuropathy often masks damage and pain from a trauma to the foot as one lacks feeling, or sensation. This makes a diagnosis difficult. The trauma, however, could happen years before any sign of Charcot is present. It could be as severe as fractures in the foot from a fall, to a seemingly minor incident as a can falling out of the cabinet hitting the foot, even walking, or jogging can set the scene for Charcot.

The end results are:

* a severely deformed and disabling foot that is difficult to shoe and brace properly.
* recurrent infections and ulcerations.
* leading to amputation

Charcot Joint was discovered in syphilis patients in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot in France. Charcot and Charles Féré published the first scientific investigation of this condition in 1883. It wasn’t discovered in the diabetic patient until W. R. Jordan made the link in 1936. It is believed Charcot was not discovered earlier because diabetic patients didn’t live long enough. Some 24 diseases causes Charcot Foot to emerge.

Jean-Martin Charcot is quoted as saying, “In the last analysis, we only see what we have been taught to see.” This foundation wants those at risk to be aware of Charcot and save your feet from amputation if you have it. Early detection is a saver as you have heard from many others who tell you about a disease.

Check your feet frequently. Look for calluses and ulcers. If your feet are of different temperatures, one hotter than the other let your doctor know. Watch carefully to see if your feet are deforming. (This happened to me.) If you are on medications, take them as perscribed. Clear up any infections. See a podiatrist and follow his recommendationsn if you want healthy feet. Be sure your doctors know about Charcot so it can be ruled out, or treated, so you won’t have an amputation. Try to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of humor. These help the healing process.

Because of early dection (just barely), my doctor was able to save both my feet from amputation. Today, I still have to be very careful, but I can walk normally (most of the time) and very few realize what had to be done to achieve this miracle.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness education Foundation

Charcot Awareness Education Foundation Begins

I was diagnosed with Charcot Foot after having diabetes for over 10 years. I had never heard of Charcot Foot (Charcot bone or Charcot joint, a bone deterioration disease). In researching, I found nothing, or very little information about the disease. As a teacher and quite social, I wanted to share this information with interested individuals and those who may have the disease. Our lawyer suggested we put together a foundation. Because I was in a wheel chair with an orbital fixator on my foot and leg after surgery, I had plenty of time to tell my story so that others could be diagnosed properly by qualified medical doctors in time to save their feet from amputation.

The Foundation’s first charge was to put together a tri-fold pamphlet. After handing out the pamphlets, we learned three million diabetics, most likely, have Charcot Foot and are not being diagnosed correctly. 23 other diseases cause Charcot Foot to get worse. The foundation, Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, received word July 9, 2009 that the nonprofit foundation was approved, back-dated to July 2008 as the beginning date. We are excited about the potential and the response to our efforts. We hope it will be a great educational resource for everyone interested in Charcot Foot and that those who have it can find help.

The Foundation is expanding by use of a web site, sharing information at gatherings for the ADA, health fairs and anywhere we can.

This introduction was written in early 2010. A lot has happened. I have learned that many of the podiatrists, as well as. others who work with feet really don’t know that much about Charcot. However, since we began the web site and foundation, people have been asking more questions. There is more information out there to help individuals find help. Much of it is written by medical professionals knowledgeable about Charcot.

I, personally, am pleased to have many of you contact us to find out more information. You have told me about your experience with the disease. I hope we will be able to tell your stories on this web site to give others hope and a better understanding on how to deal with this devastating disease.

YOUR FEET ARE YOUR FOUNDATION

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

BE AWARE OF FEAR

In researching for this article, I came upon the following concept discussed by actress Helen Mirren. . . . . .I didn’t understand the power, or importance of fear. It sometime stops you from doing stupid things . It can also stop you from doing important things, creative things, experimental things and exciting things. It can cloud your judgment. You must understand your own personal fears, face them.

In my situation, I was having a lot of trouble with balance. I seemed to fall a lot. This started in grade school, when I played basketball on the outside court. I seemed to turn my ankle often, Then in the gym it happened too, but not quite as often. In High School, I fell crossing the street with friends. Maybe, I wasn’t paying attention, but it was very embarrassing as I tried not to make a big deal of the incident. This, however, continued throughout my life, just not as often. They were unexpected and no less embarrassing.

I had no fear at the time. Because of my history of falling, I considered it normal and never told a doctor about this problem. I had no fear. In fact, I learned to fall without really injuring myself. I just picked myself up, brushed myself off and went on my way. As I got older, I sometimes needed assistance getting up. This, too, I resisted until I realized they were there to help me. (and I really didn’t mind the attentions of these young men.)

In 1995, I was told I had Type II diabetes. As an art teacher I was most concerned with my vision. I was right to fear the loss of my sight. Fortunately, my Optomaligist was very kind when he told me I would be totally blind within five years. Now, I was worried. How could I deal with blindness? I went to one of the teachers that worked with a blind student in my school. She introduced me to Braille and some of the things I would face. I tried to learn some of the things, but found I had great difficulty adjusting.

When I realized blood was entering my eye through leaking blood vessels, my Optomaligist referred me to a Macula and Retina Specialist. After many visits and Laser Cauterization Surgeries over a two year period, I did go blind in my left eye. However, we had worked closely together and I went to him immediately. I was in surgery in the hospital within seven days. He was able to perform a Vectrectomy and save the eye sight. Soon after, he performed the same procedure on the right eye. I am proud to say my eyes are fine with minor distortion, and I use only reading glasses. It is however, necessary that I keep my blood sugar under control to protect my eyes.

During this same time it was discovered that I had Charcot. Over the past 10 years I had gone to doctors and had x-rays to see why my feet hurt, why my balance was not good and each time I was told I had arthritis and to live with it.. I had been misdiagnosed. This is a very big problem for those of us who have Charcot and don’t know it. As many with Charcot will tell you, it was too late when they found out and are now amputees. Charcot is a bone deterioration disease.

So listen to your fears and that gut feeling. Don’t let time get away.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Yesterday, my husband and I went to our regular podiatrist appointment. After it was discovered I had Charcot, we decided we both should see the podiatrist on a regular basis. He trims our toenails and checks my feet for anything that might be different. Infact, he found a small lump on the bottom of my left foot. After further examination, he decided I had stepped on something. It bruised my heel and created a type of callus which he removed.

Why didn’t I notice this object? I have neuropathy and I feel very little with my feet. This leads me to say I had been remiss at checking the inside of my shoes for foreign objects. I have been wearing the sandals (which I am only to wear in the house) because we have been in Nebraska where it has been very hot. My feet sweat so badly in the shoes so I wear sandals and try to be very careful, so the feet stay dry and can breathe.

After talking with the doctor for a few minutes discussing foot problems, I was thinking I had seen more people apparently suffering from foot pain. It started when we walked into his waiting room and a young man was stretched out in one of the chairs trying to sleep. He was pasty white with a yellow- green tinge. He had a walking shoe on his left foot. I really wanted to talk to him, but didn’t. After a while he got up, spoke to the receptionist saying he couldn’t stay any longer and wanted to come back the next day. Apparently, no time was working for him and he finally settled for three days later.

WOW! He was in such pain. I wondered what he was going to do for the next three days, Why didn’t he stay and wait to be seen today? What were his reasons? Was he afraid of loosing his job? Was He afraid of what he was going to hear? Did he suddenly think he could make it better himself?

Thinking back over the past week, I was amazed at how many people I saw limping, in a wheel chair, in a walking boot or shoe, wearing shoes that didn’t fit well, or protect the foot. Most of them looked miserable.

I met a lady, who was sitting and quite uncomfortable. She remembered me from several years ago when I was in the wheelchair with my Charcot Surgery. She was surprised to see me walking. The conversation then turned to her and her feet and legs. She pulled up her pant leg and pulled down her compression sock. This revealed a very swollen purplish black leg. I really didn’t expect this. Infact, it made me sick to my stomach. She told me the skin would split and clear fluid would seep out.

She had been to a doctor, but really got no real satisfaction. She is an elderly lady and over weight. Loosing weight would probably help some. I was told by a doctor the skin is not healthy and therefore splits and weeps. His suggestion was for her to get a referral to a wound care specialist or adema specialist. I am so afraid she is on a very limited income and may not have the necessary insurance.

I’m sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks as I hear of all the money that goes overseas to help those in need and all the money that goes unused in our government and all the graft and waste. Yet, I see so many people in our wonderful USA that obviously didn’t make some good decisions along life’s path. They are too proud to ask for help, or if they do, can’t get the help they need. Or, maybe, they don’t know where to go, or whom to ask for the needed help. Frustrated? That I am.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation