Charcot neuroarthropathy of the foot and ankle.
The goal of this study was to characterize Charcot neuroarthropathy of the foot and ankle by specific sites of involvement (ankle, hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot), modes of presentation, methods of management, and outcome. A summary of treatment and results for 50 ankles, 22 hindfeet, 131 midfeet, and 18 forefeet is presented. Nondisplaced neuropathic ankle fractures typically healed uneventfully with casting and bracing. For displaced ankle fractures, closed reduction and casting generally resulted in loss of reduction and progressive deterioration; better results were obtained with open reduction and internal fixation, using supplemental Kirschner wires and screws. Ankles with Charcot neuroarthropathy and preexisting arthritis typically required arthrodesis. Of the ankles with neuropathic avascular talar necrosis, approximately 1/3 did well with nonoperative intervention and 2/3 required surgery. Chronic, unstable, malaligned Charcot ankles often required arthrodesis. Neuropathic calcaneal fractures were managed successfully nonoperatively. For feet with transverse tarsal joint involvement (Schon Type IV), management was more complex. Nonoperative treatment was successful for less than 1/2. Two thirds of the feet with midtarsus involvement (Schon Types I, II, and III) were managed successfully nonoperatively; 1/3 required surgery for recurrent ulceration, instability, or osteomyelitis. Half of the feet with forefoot neuroarthropathy required surgery for malalignment, ulceration, and/or difficulty with shoewear or braces. This review has established patterns of Charcot involvement of the foot and ankle with corresponding methods of treatment and subsequent responses. From this extensive clinical experience with 221 neuropathic fractures or Charcot joints, recommendations were derived to assist in selecting appropriate management options.
Schon, LC; Easley, ME; Weinfeld, SB
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