Neuropathy or loss of normal nerve function is a common problem in chronic diabetes. The hands and feet are affected most often. Patients report symptoms that range from mild tingling, burning, or numbness to a complete loss of sensation. Loss of sensation in the feet is a serious problem. It puts the patient at risk for trauma and joint destruction.
Over time, degeneration of the stress-bearing portion of the ankle causes Charcot's disease. Sometimes this condition is called Charcot's arthropathy or neuropathic arthropathy.
Treatment is important to preserve the bones of the foot and ankle function. Treatment begins with reduction of weight bearing. Joint protection is also important in conservative care. Surgical fusion can be done if all else fails but joint replacement is not advised in this condition.
For best results, patients with diabetes who have peripheral neuropathy, poor skin quality or poor circulation, and deficient bone stock donít qualify for total ankle replacement.