A recent survey found that a majority of doctors who are not foot specialists don’t know enough about a rare form of foot damage, which can lead to significant disability in patients.
Diabetes can have several complications, including one common side effect: foot damage. Although some types are common, others are rarer.
Among the lesser-known conditions is Charcot neuroarthropathy.
“It is a rare foot condition that can cause significant deformity, disability and may lead to ulcerations and infections if it is not caught early in the disease process,” says Brian Schmidt, D.P.M., clinical instructor in internal medicine and member of the podiatry team at Michigan Medicine.
Commonly known as a Charcot foot and/or ankle, the effects can be debilitating.
- Outcome after protected full weightbearing treatment in an orthopedic device in diabetic neuropathic arthropathy (Charcot arthropathy)
- Managing Charcot Foot in Diabetes
Many doctors, however, aren’t up to speed on the matter.
Schmidt is the lead author on a new study, published in Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology, that investigated how much non-foot-specialist clinicians know about the condition in an effort to understand how to better focus future educational forums on the topic.
Of the 400 endocrinologists, internal medicine physicians and family medicine physicians who responded to a survey, more than two-thirds of respondents — 67.6 percent — described themselves as having poor or complete lack of knowledge of Charcot neuroarthropathy. Researchers also investigated how referring physicians treat the condition if they encounter it.