The Link Between Obesity and Charcot Foot

Did you know that over 27% of adults in Connecticut are obese, reporting a body mass index (BMI) >35? 

With the majority of Americans now overweight or obese, it can be easy to overlook the negative impact excess pounds can have on your physical wellbeing — including your feet.

At New Canaan Podiatry, our team is committed to helping you and your feet achieve optimal health. Board-certified podiatrist Jennifer Tauber, DPM helps patients in and around New Canaan, Connecticut, with many types of foot-related problems, including those linked to obesity, like Charcot foot

Read on to learn about the link between obesity and Charcot foot!

What is Charcot foot?

Charcot foot is a serious medical condition in which the bones of your foot become weaker and weaker over time. The disease impacts the joints, bones, and tissues in your foot and ankle, causing breaks and dislocation.

If left untreated, Charcot foot causes permanent foot disfiguration, making mobility a challenge. The foot deformation creates pressure points on your foot and ankle, leading to sores which can cause infection. In severe cases, Charcot foot can lead to amputation.  

Symptoms of Charcot foot include:

Charcot foot is uncommon and frequently misdiagnosed as other troublesome foot conditions, like arthritis, deep vein thrombosis, and gout. If you suspect Charcot foot, be sure to see an experienced podiatrist, like Dr. Tauber, for an accurate diagnosis. 

What is the link between obesity and Charcot foot?

The link between obesity and Charcot foot is twofold: (1) obesity increases your risk for diabetes and Charcot foot; and (2) obesity increases the force exerted on your feet, which increases your risk of developing Charcot foot if you have diabetes. 

Obesity and neuropathy

Diabetics are more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes you to lose sensation in your feet. Being obese increases your chances of developing diabetes as overeating stresses the cells in your body responsible for your insulin response. This triggers insulin resistance and high concentrations of glucose in your blood. 

If you develop neuropathy, it’s harder to feel cuts, sores, fractures, and other foot trauma. Untreated foot injuries create more damage to your bones as you continue to walk and stand on them despite their weakened state. This increases your risk of developing Charcot foot. 

Obesity and force on the feet

When you’re obese, it doesn’t take much movement to negatively impact your foot. Weighing as little as one pound more than your ideal body weight increases the pressure in your ankles and feet by as much eight pounds.

The extra weight stresses the skin and bones of feet and can physically alter their structure over time. This means your feet are at higher risk of injury and the development of Charcot foot. And the more weight your feet bear, the worse Charcot foot becomes.     

How can I learn more about obesity and Charcot foot?

If you’re obese and worried you may have Charcot foot, seek medical treatment. An accurate diagnosis from a foot expert, like Dr. Tauber, is essential for getting you the best treatment possible. 

When diagnosed early, you may be able to have foot reconstruction to strengthen your bones and help you avoid severe strategies, such as amputation of the impacted foot. 

If you want to learn more about the link between obesity and Charcot foot or if you suspect your foot troubles could be due to Charcot, the team and New Canaan Podiatry can help! Contact our office or book an appointment online now. 

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