Living With Charcot

Charcot foot can make regular daily activities challenging. A few simple lifestyle modifications will help keep you healthy, safe, and thriving at home.

Living With Charcot Foot

Charcot foot is a condition related to diabetic neuropathy that causes the bones and tendons of the foot to break and deform. Many people diagnosed with Charcot foot will experience changes in their normal mobility and activity due to balance issues, pain, or a doctor’s order to keep weight off the affected foot.

Maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle supports healing and mental health, but it may be difficult for adults to adjust to life with new restrictions. By following these tips, you can stop feeling limited by the things you can’t do and begin focusing on what you can do with Charcot foot.

Tip #1 Feel Unstoppable With a Mobility Aid

Because Charcot foot changes the shape of your feet, walking may be difficult due to poor balance or pain. Your doctor might tell you to keep weight off the foot for some time, in which case walking would be impossible.

Mobility aids like walkers, canes, wheelchairs, scooters, and orthotic devices make getting around with a physical disability possible. Thanks to modern medicine, several options are available on the market, some of which are covered by Medicare and other insurance providers. Talk with your doctor about which mobility aid is right for you based on your individual restrictions and financial situation.

Here are a few examples of mobility aids that help people with Charcot foot regain independence and get back to the activities they love.

  • Knee Walker: These clever devices offer a high level of comfort and mobility. They are perfect for people who need to keep weight off one foot but are otherwise fairly unrestricted.

To use a knee walker, the user rests the knee of the affected leg on the walker in a kneeling position and propels themself forward with the other leg. The user steers the walker with the handlebars, which provide support and include a braking mechanism.

It is important to note that not all insurance providers cover knee walkers, including medicare.

  • Convertible Rollator: If you can bear weight on your feet but find yourself unable to stand for prolonged periods of time, a convertible rollator—sometimes referred to as a chair walker—might be helpful for you. These special walkers have a convenient folding seat that allows you to sit anytime, anywhere. Whether you are at home folding laundry, preparing meals, or shopping at the grocery store, a convertible rollator provides peace-of-mind knowing you can rest your feet without interrupting your activities.

Private insurance providers and Medicare cover many rollators. Be sure to talk with your doctor to ensure you are properly fitted to your rollator.

  • CROW Boots and Orthotic Walkers: CROW boots are specially designed orthotic devices that facilitate the healing of Charcot foot with minimal impact on your mobility. The boot is made up of several pieces, including a rigid plastic shell and a soft, cushioned interior. These components provide your foot with protection for healing, comfort to reduce the risk of ulcerations and support to allow you to walk safely without risking further injury.

You will need a prescription from your doctor to receive a CROW boot, and they will custom fit the boot to your affected foot.

Tip #2 Safety First

Your safety at home should always be your number one priority. Living in a space that is not adapted to your mobility needs is a recipe for injury, leading to costly hospital bills and further loss of independence.

You can make several changes to your home to improve your mobility and safety. The level of modification your home requires will depend on your specific abilities, so it is always best to discuss your concerns with a trusted medical provider.

  • Eliminate tripping hazards: Clutter, area rugs, and uneven flooring can increase your risks of tripping or damaging your feet.
  • Remove obstacles: If you are using a mobility aid at home, try to arrange furniture so that you have plenty of space to move around.
  • Wear House Shoes: House shoes offer many benefits, including comfort, protection from stubbed toes, and non-slip footing.
  • Install Grab Bars and Handrails: Bathrooms and stairs are two of the most common places where injuries occur at home. Handrails and grab bars can give you extra balance and stability, but make sure they are installed by a professional to ensure they can safely hold your weight.
  • Consider a Stair Lift or Ramp: If your mobility is significantly impaired, or you live in a multi-level home, you might consider installing a ramp or a stairlift to make tackling the stairs a breeze.

Tip #3 Get Moving

It’s no secret that physical activity can improve your health and wellbeing, but finding a routine that accommodates your mobility needs can be challenging. The key is to find an activity that engages your brain and body, is fun, and does not cause you physical pain. These activities will keep you strong, flexible, and mentally sharp.

Here are a few examples of activities that you can easily modify to accommodate your abilities. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

  • Walking: Walking is a simple activity that you can do almost anywhere. A nature walk is a fantastic way to move your body while also reaping the mental health benefits of getting outside.
  • Water sports: Swimming and water aerobics are popular activities for people with limited mobility because the water gently cradles the body and relieves pressure from sore joints and muscles. Classes are available at many community centers with pool access.
  • Stationary cycling: Stationary bikes can be a great way to exercise your legs and heart without straining your feet. These bikes are available at most gyms and come in various configurations for maximum comfort.
  • Yoga: Yoga offers a slew of health benefits, including improved balance, flexibility, strength, and mental clarity. You can practice at home, a yoga studio, or a local community center. The movements are easily adjustable and can even be performed in a chair if necessary.
  • Tai Chi: Tai Chi offers many of the same benefits as Yoga and is well known for its slow, controlled movements. Like yoga, you can modify Tai Chi to fit any level of physical ability and practice at home.
  • Isometric Exercise: Isometrics strengthen muscles without repeated joint movement, making them great for people with arthritis and joint pain. These strength-building exercises are performed by pushing muscles against each other or a stationary object, like a wall or table, holding the contraction for several seconds, and releasing. Isometrics work on any muscle group and can be performed from a sitting position if needed.

An example of an isometric exercise is the bicep curl; Hold your right arm in front of you with your palm up and elbow bent. Place your left hand on top of your right hand and clasp them together. Now you will attempt to pull your right hand toward you while using your left hand to resist the movement and hold for 5-10 seconds. You will then switch arms and perform the same action on the left side.

Siren Can Help You Find a Podiatrist

Siren has partnered with podiatrists across the country to help bring groundbreaking foot care to people with diabetes. Siren-certified podiatrists can prescribe our clinically-proven temperature monitoring socks, which detect the early signs of diabetic foot complications and reduce the risk of infection and amputations.

Click here to have a member of our team connect you with a Siren provider near you.

About Siren Socks

Siren Socks are smart socks that help detect potential issues with your feet. Siren Socks are an FDA-registered Class I medical device and are designed for people living with diabetes and neuropathy. The socks measure your foot temperature. Temperature monitoring has been shown to help reduce the number of diabetic foot ulcers in multiple clinical studies over the past 20 years and is considered the gold standard in diabetic foot care. The information from the socks is monitored by licensed nurses who contact you regularly to check on your health and the status of your feet. Your doctor reviews any issues that arise and determine if a clinic visit is necessary. Siren Socks are covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and many private insurance plans. Interested patients can find a Certified Siren Provider near them and begin the enrollment process by clickinghere.

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