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Charcot Foot: The Diagnostic Dilemma - Article
ABSTRACT: Primary care physicians involved in the management of patients with diabetes are likely to encounter the diagnostic and treatment challenges of pedal neuropathic joint disease, also known as Charcot foot. The acute Charcot foot is characterized by erythema, edema and elevated temperature of the foot that can clinically mimic cellulitis or gout. Plain film radiographic findings can be normal in the acute phase of Charcot foot. A diagnosis of Charcot syndrome should be considered in any neuropathic patient, even those with a minor increase of heat and swelling of the foot or ankle, especially after any injury. Early recognition of Charcot syndrome and immobilization (often with a total contact cast), even in the presence of normal radiographs, can minimize potential foot deformity, ulceration and loss of function. Orthopedic or podiatric foot and ankle specialists should be consulted when the disease process does not respond to treatment.