Charcot Joint Disease (diabetic neuropathic osteoarthropathy)

Laura Shin, D.P.M., Ph.D., David Armstrong, D.P.M., M.D., Ph.D., Lee J. Sanders, D.P.M.


  • Diabetic neuropathic osteoarthropathy is commonly known as Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN), Charcot joint disease (CJD) or the Charcot foot.[14][4]
  • A potentially disabling complication of diabetes, it creates a local osteopenic reaction. The weakened bone continues to bear weight and this results in deformity and instability of the foot and/or ankle.
  • As the bones collapse, the deformity can subsequently create a "rocker bottom" deformity, ulceration, or infection, and can ultimately lead to amputation.
  • Active (acute) condition: a sudden, unexpected and often misdiagnosed neuropathic arthropathy, often preceded by unrecognized minor trauma; characterized by rapidly progressive localized inflammation with erythema, swelling, elevated skin temperature and associated with sterile destruction of joints including subluxation, dislocation, fractures, osteolysis and foot deformity.
  • Inactive (chronic) condition: Characterized by resolution of inflammation, exuberant ossification, increased bone density, restoration of stability and foot deformity.

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Last updated: July 4, 2020