Archive for January, 2015

Charcot Foot? See A Foot and Ankle Surgeon

Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Specialists in Total Foot and Ankle Care
Foot and ankle surgeons are podiatric physicians who specialize in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of a variety of conditions that affect people of every age.
A foot and ankle surgeon holds an advanced degree as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Podiatric medicine deals with the bones, soft tissues, and function of the foot and ankle, as well as how podiatric conditions may relate to other parts of the body.
Foot and ankle surgeons provide a wide range of care—from nonsurgical methods to correct common podiatric problems to state-of-the-art corrective and reconstructive surgical techniques.

Why Choose a Foot and Ankle Surgeon?
Intensive, focused training and in-depth experience are what set apart the foot and ankle surgeon from other physicians.
During their education and training, foot and ankle surgeons devote more time to a wide variety of foot and ankle procedures than do other surgeons. Because of this critical difference, foot and ankle surgeons are the most appropriate specialists to promptly diagnose and treat various foot and ankle conditions.
A foot and ankle surgeon must complete four years of podiatric medical school and typically three years of a residency program in foot and ankle surgery. This residency is similar to — and integrates with — residencies for all physician specialties. During their residencies, DPMs receive training in internal medicine and general surgery in addition to their focus on the foot and ankle.
Certification by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) ensures that the foot and ankle surgeon has completed appropriate training, successfully performed a diverse range of foot and ankle procedures with good surgical skills and judgment, and passed rigorous oral and written exams.
Members of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS)— a medical specialty society devoted to advancing foot and ankle health — are board-certified or in the process of becoming board-certified by the ABPS. The 7,000 members have dedicated themselves to continuing their training and excelling in the field of foot and ankle surgery for the benefit of the patients they serve.

When Should You See a Foot and Ankle Surgeon?
Most people have a foot or ankle problem at one time or another. So, how do you know when to see a foot and ankle surgeon?

Sometimes it’s obvious that you need to seek help, but at other times it’s less clear. In reality, many symptoms — even those you can tolerate — may require professional attention to keep the underlying condition from worsening.
Some reasons patients see a foot and ankle surgeon, include:

• An injury (a sprain, broken bone, etc.)
• Swelling in your foot or ankle
• A medical condition (diabetes, poor circulation, etc.) that can affect the feet
• Impaired ability to function in certain activities
• Heel pain in the morning
• Any painful condition of the foot, ankle or lower leg
• Discomfort after standing for awhile
• Changes in the appearance of your foot or ankle
• An abnormal growth

Foot and ankle surgeons treat all symptoms and conditions affecting the foot and ankle, such as bunions, heel pain (plantar fasciitis), flatfoot, foot or ankle arthritis, sports injuries, tendon disorders fractures (broken bones), diabetes complications, ingrown toenails, neuromas, dermatological conditions, tingly feet, hammertoes, and much more.

Find a Foot and Ankle Surgeon
To find a foot and ankle surgeon in your area or for more information about foot health, visit ACFAS’ patient education website

We found this information on the ACFAS website. Since these are the professionals, I wanted to share their information with you, our readers. Keep your feet healthy and seek a qualified, Charcot knowledgeable professional that can help you treat your symptoms affecting your feet and ankles. Don’t wait so long that you have to face amputation that could have been avoided if you had gotten help sooner.

If you are a diabetic, make sure your doctor checks your feet thoroughly. They often assume you see the podiatrist and they don’t need to bother. Unfortunately, change can take place quickly and could go unnoticed resulting in loss of a foot or worse.

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Annita Shaw – Founder

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

1/21/15 Press Release American College Foot & Ankle Surgeons (Charcot Foot)

For six years we have worked to inform and educate people about Charcot Foot. In December of 2014 the phone rang and a delightful young lady from JPA Health Communications said she wanted to interview me about Charcot Foot. I was nearly in tears as this was a dream come true. The American College of Foot and ankle Surgeons were going to focus on educating the population about Charcot Foot in 2015. Their article went out on the wire yesterday, and I would like to share it with you as it is the latest update

News Logo
For Diabetics, Dangerous Foot Trauma Can Be Avoided with Proper Care
Amputations Avoidable With Timely Diagnosis & Care from a Foot & Ankle Surgeon
CHICAGO, January 21, 2014—For nearly 30 million Americans with diabetes, there is a debilitating and often preventable foot condition that is underdiagnosed and undertreated. A lack of awareness of Charcot foot (pronounced shar-koh) means that many patients undergo painful surgeries, and even amputations, to correct what can be a highly treatable condition.
Charcot foot is the result of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that results in the loss of feeling in the lower extremities, including the feet. An estimated one third of all diabetic patients develop peripheral neuropathy. This lack of feeling can lead to increased blood flow along with nerve problems in the foot, which can result in development of Charcot foot. Without proper care, Charcot foot can lead to permanent deformity, disability and even result in amputation of the leg and foot.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), Charcot is highly treatable when caught early. Doctors and patients agree that early detection is the key. Unfortunately, the condition is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms can be attributed to other problems.
Annita Shaw, a retired school teacher and diabetic, knows this all too well. Shaw visited the emergency room three times for foot pain over several years, before finding a foot and ankle surgeon who ultimately diagnosed her with Charcot Foot.
“Several physicians suggested my foot pain was due to arthritis or that my shoes were too tight. No one x- rayed my feet. Finally I found a physician specializing in foot and ankle care, who determined that Charcot was the cause of my ongoing foot problems,” says Shaw.
In the early stages of Charcot, bones of the foot become weak and may fracture. With continued walking the foot changes shape and, as the disorder progresses, joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape. Because they cannot feel pain, many people do not realize they have Charcot foot until this late stage, when severe complications have occurred.
“People think they don’t have a problem because they feel no pain, but that isn’t the case,” says Valerie L. Schade, DPM, FACFAS, FACFAOM, a foot and ankle surgeon in Tacoma, Wash. and a Fellow Member of ACFAS, who now treats Shaw. “Anyone at risk for neuropathy, including diabetics, alcoholics and some chemotherapy patients, should see a foot and ankle surgeon early and at least once every year, even if they are considered low risk.”
ACFAS surgeons know that monitoring for changes in the foot is the single most important factor in prevention. Dr. Schade continues, “Anyone who notices a difference – discomfort, unexplained swelling or redness, or changes to the shape of the foot – should seek care right away.”
As for Shaw, who was able to avoid amputation, she now spends much of her time advocating for greater awareness of Charcot foot, informing and educating at-risk patients and the general public
“If I can save even one person from the pain of surgery or amputation by raising awareness of Charcot foot, I’ll have done my job,” Shaw continues. “People spend so much time and money worrying about aging and maintaining beauty, when really they should spend time caring and worrying about their feet!”
For more information on Charcot or other foot and ankle health information, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ patient education website at
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of over 7,000 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College’s mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its patient education website,
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Annita Shaw – Founder

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Charcot Foot Deformity Awareness An Issue

Six years ago we, my husband and I, began this non profit foundation Charcot Awareness Education Foundation. Because we are newly formed and most people have never heard of Charcot Foot, it has been a rather enlightening experience. especially when trying to raise money so you can really begin to help people. Most of the funds raised for the foundation presently, are our own time and money with the assistance of some friends and several doctors and other professionals not involved with the feet. Odd right? We think so. However, if it hadn’t been for Dr. Thomas Roukis and Dr. Valerie Schade, my foot surgeons, this foundation wouldn’t exist. You see, I have Charcot Foot and was able to avoid amputation. Something I want for everyone with foot deformity. They have continued to encourage me and support our efforts.

There are numerous ways to get money for worthy causes, ask the general public, grant write, fund raising events, mailers, conferences, and speakers to mention a few and these all take money to raise money. Some business’ actually give you opportunities to acquire funds.

We are going to take part in such, as it is a contest for non profits. We were selected to compete in the local casinos Fat Tuesday Float Parade

The Dragon's head is made entirely from papier mach

The Dragon’s head is made entirely from papier mach

February 17. Only non profits can enter and only 20 are selected to compete. You build a float to represent your foundation. The float must follow specfic dimensions no more than 6’ tall, 6’ long and 2 1/2’ wide. It is pulled on a child’s red wagon which the casino gives you. They give everyone selected $500 and a chance to win more by being selected first, second, or third in the competition. There is a theme and judging criteria.

The Dragon's body is covered completely in paper mach

The Dragon’s body is covered completely in paper mach

Dragon’s body for the float and the rest of the papier mache. We have nearly two months to complete the float. It goes on display January 17, yes that is Saturday. Is it finished? Almost. Everyone who comes through the casino doors has a chance to vote on their favorite float prior to the parade competition. Fat Tuesday the float is pulled around the parade route in the casino so everyone can see it. They pass in front of the judges viewing stand for the final test.

Though, there has been a lot of stress, planning and problem solving I am thrilled with the chance to do this event. I chose to create a dragon for several reasons. first was because my youngest Charcot patient is now 11 and is Chinese. She lives in Ohio and is an inspiration to me as she is now in remission and enjoying her world. Second,where some of the most popular slot machines at the casino use the dragon theme. It also was a symbol in European history where the knight would slay the dragon to save the damsel in distress.

This is the Casinos third year of sponsoring the event. They are trying to make people aware of available foundations and services in the area. It has been a lot of fun for everyone. Those with the floats hand out information about their foundation, as well as, the typical Mardi Gras treats like beads and candy during the parade

Do wish you could all be here to help us celebrate our foundation, its sixth birthday and the success it has had so far. We thank Clearwater Casino for celebrating non profit foundations in our local area and giving us this opportunity.

If you would like to help us please send your donation, any amount helps, to Charcot Awareness Education Foundation PO Box 3902, Silverdale, WA 98383-3902. It is greatly appreciated.

Annita Shaw – Founder

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Charcot Foot Update

Since I was diagnosed with Charcot Foot, I have marveled at my findings. Those in the medical field that do, or do not seem to know about Charcot Foot. I have found those with experience in fitting people with orthotics, or prosthetics seem to be able to identify those with Charcot Foot best. They probably won’t tell you what the disease is, but will refer you to a Doctor or clinic that will. Symptoms of CharcotI, like many I have talked to, had no idea when diagnosed with Charcot what it was. The first response was shocked silence, then “And that is what?” The explanation I received was that is was a bone deterioration disease. Nothing could really be done to stop it. No pills and surgery wasn’t recommended. Since I had the pain, discomfort and deformity coming on, and Neuropathy masked much of the problem, I didn’t really think it was too serious. I guess you could say I was in denial, but not completely as I had my husband Max research Charcot on the computer. We found very little information. Just enough to have a doctor refer us to the limb preservation clinic at Madigan where the man who fitted me with my orthotics had said I needed to go months earlier.

Over the past years, I have learned a number of things positive and negative. There is help out there for those with this devastating disease. Your best bet is to find a good foot and ankle surgeon. If you are a diabetic, using corticosteriods, or an alcoholic, these are the top three diseases that accompany and expedite this malady. You really need to talk with your doctor and get those under control so your health is stable.

Others, I have talked to, were told by their doctors the amputation is easier to deal with Foot Care 2than the recovery time from an operation to repair or rebuild the foot. They were also told surgery won’t work. Since my surgery in 2006, I feel so much better and am able to walk. I know of another Charcot patient who had surgery 25 years ago and he walks well. Some of the specialists would rather cut toe nails in the “old folks” home than use their skills and training to help the Charcot patient have a better quality of life. Statistics say there are approximately four million diabetics in the USA alone that have Charcot Foot and aren’t being diagnosed and will loose their feet to amputation. There are approximately 16 million diagnosed diabetics at this time. That means over ¼ of the diabetic population has Charcot and will be an amputee. Amputees can still walk, but the majority of those I have met with Charcot use a wheel chair because it is easier than learning to walk with the prosthesis. Most are over 60 years old and not flexible as a younger person.

I recently spoke with a lady on crutches with a cast on her right foot. I asked her what her problem was. She told me she had foot deformity. I asked if it was Charcot. She had never heard of it. She went on to tell me that she had gone through 14 surgeries to repare the foot. However, some of the surgeries were for bones broken during surgery. She then showed me some pictures of her last surgery where they had to deal with infection. The area was above her ankle the skin around the area was black. She said they were going to do another surgery and if they couldn’t stop the progression of infection they would amputate. She seemed unconcerned.

Your feet are so important to your independence. Charcot Foot results in a severely deformed and disabling foot that is difficult to shoe and brace properly. You could have recurrent infections and ulcerations with a final result being amputation. Check your feet daily, note any changes and keep them clean and free of callus and sores in other words, healthy. Contact a Charcot knowledgeable professional if these things happen.

Annita Shaw – Founder

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Happy New Year 2015

In a few days, we will find ourselves in the new year of 2013. the number thirteen has always been fascinating to me. Probably because I was born on the thirteenth and I considered it lucky because a very wonderful couple that adopted me. And I had a wonderful birth mother that was willing to give me what she couldn’t. Yet, others say the number 13 is unlucky. I choose to disprove that theory.

I’ve also thought my life was on a path I could control at times, but other times I had to go blindly and it would work out. When I found out I had Charcot Foot, I had no idea what it was. Funny, but I wasn’t devastated when I learned the news I just trusted in God and those around me to help me find a way to cope and deal with this disease. I didn’t realize at the time I would take on a new destination, one to help others with Charcot Foot (or Charcot Joint) and to educate others about the problems associated with it.

2012 brought more people to touch my life and educate me about Charcot. I learned it doesn’t affect just the elderly, or those with diabetes, or another disease. I should have realized it as upon my diagnosis. I was told I probably had this when I was 10. (I was thrown from a horse at that age) Our heart goes out to those who have lost family because of Charcot. One reason why I want more people to understand this disease so they can be helped before it is to late and other complications take over.

I really want to stress, find a knowledgeable foot specialist, or surgeon that knows Charcot. Take time to research and get to know, and believe in this person and his/her ability to help you get well, walk again, or comfortably deal with your situation.

I would love to chat with you and help you tell our readers your story so they understand what happens good, or bad so a solution will be a positive one for you. Don’t wait, or put off finding a solution. I appreciate those of you who have shared with me, contacted me for help, or have told me what has happened in your life. I hope more of you will contact us and share your story. Sharing really gives others encouragement. Or if you need help, please contact me and I will do what I can to help you. We really hope, we are able to help everyone understand more about Charcot Foot and seek a solution to this devastating foot problem.

You can make a difference. Because you have told others about Charcot Foot, or asked your physician about this disease, more professionals are getting the word out and there is more information about it than when I was diagnosed. THANKS!

Though this is still a tough time around the world economically, you can still attain better health. We are looking forward to another informative and exciting year. If your would like a brochure on Charcot Foot, please contact us through the website, email, or contact us at: Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, P.O. 3902, Silverdale, WA 98383-3902. Thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Message by the Founder Annita

Brought toby Charcot Awareness Education Foundation