What is The Difference Between Charcot Foot and Charcot-Marie-Tooth?

Charcot foot and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease both affect the feet, but they are very different problems.

Recently we have been getting a lot of questions about what the difference is between Charcot foot and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Both affect the feet, but they are very different problems.

Both are named after Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, a famous French physician in the 19th century. Charcot foot and Charcot-Marie-Tooth are very distinct and different problems. Charcot foot is acquired and often caused by diabetes. Charcot-Marie-Tooth is a hereditary or inherited disorder. Both diseases can cause bony deformities and non-healing ulcers, but Charcot foot can be much more serious and requires immediate attention from a trained professional, such as a podiatrist.

Per the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association:

"Charcot-Marie-Tooth is an inherited peripheral neuropathy, causing muscle weakness and sensory loss in the arms, hands, feet and legs.

Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot in people who have nerve damage. Oftentimes, people with diabetes get Charcot Foot. People with CMT are also known to develop Charcot Foot. You may want to see a good podiatrist for care and advice."

Charcot Foot

Charcot foot, also known as Charcot Neuroarthropathy, can be a very dangerous condition and if you suspect you have Charcot foot, you should take all weight off your foot as soon as possible and see a podiatrist. X-rays or MRI may be necessary to diagnose Charcot.

Charcot foot is a serious complication of diabetes that happens when the bones in the foot become weak and eventually break down. Typically, you experience Charcot foot when you have diabetes and neuropathy (nerve damage) in your feet.

Symptoms of Charcot foot include the weakening of bone and soft tissue, which can cause deformity due bones shifting. It is often misdiagnosed and can go undetected for a long time. It can lead to foot ulcers, which can become infected and turn into gangrene, ulcers and ultimately amputation.

From the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA):

"Charcot foot usually begins with peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage in the feet. Because the nerves do not function well, you may not sense pain when you injure your foot or your foot muscles may not function to support the foot properly. You may break bones or damage joints without knowing it. If you keep walking on your injured foot, fractures can heal unevenly. This causes foot deformity."



Charcot-Marie-Tooth is often an inherited disorder. It can cause deformities due to persistent muscle spasms. High arches and curled toes (hammertoes) are common. The lower legs may also change shape due to the loss of muscle.

Symptoms usually begin in the feet and lower legs as the longer nerves are affected first, and can then progress to the fingers, hands and arms. Over time, it can lead to reduced ability to feel heat, cold and touch.

There is no cure for CMT, but supportive therapy is available. It is usually not life-threatening and according to the NIH, people with most forms of CMT have a normal life expectancy.


Charcot foot and Siren Socks

Being diagnosed with diabetes and Charcot can be overwhelming, and you may feel devastated, sad, angry, frustrated, etc. Don't feel like you're all alone in that. There are online communities like Diabetic & Charcot Foot America you can join to talk with your peers.

Charcot has an active and inactive phase. When Charcot becomes active, this is often characterized by inflammation, which causes a rise in temperature. Siren Socks can detect that temperature rise and let you and your doctor know, so you can catch it early. Listen to Tim's story how Siren Socks helped him catch a Charcot problem early.

See a podiatrist if you suspect Charcot

If it is Charcot foot, you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible, and ideally one that specializes in Charcot. Most podiatrists treat Charcot and if they don't specialize in Charcot, they will be able to refer you to a colleague that does.

You can schedule a telehealth visit with a specialist here and see if Siren Socks are suitable for you.


Charcot Foot

- Diabetes Daily Grind, Tim's podcast about living with Charcot

- Marc's story about the collapse of his foot due to Charcot

- Exercising with Charcot: 4 Tips for Preventing Damage to your Feet

- Diabetes Health: Charcot Foot

- APMA, What is Charcot foot?


- Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, Living with CMT

- Mayo Clinic, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

- NIH, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Fact Sheet

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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