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Charcot Foot and Long-Term Disability

By Matt Lalande in Hamilton Disability Lawyer, Long-Term Disability on May 02, 2023

Charcot Foot and Long-Term Disability

Charcot foot is a rare but serious complication that primarily affects individuals with peripheral neuropathy, particularly those with diabetes mellitus. This condition involves the weakening of bones, joints, and soft tissues in the foot or ankle, leading to fractures and dislocations. The primary cause of Charcot foot is nerve damage, or neuropathy, with diabetes being the most common underlying factor. Health complications associated with Charcot foot can be quite severe, prompting the need for timely diagnosis and effective treatment options to mitigate its impact on the patient’s quality of life.

The seriousness of Charcot foot cannot be understated, as it has the potential to result in significant deformities, disability, and even amputation if left untreated. Early intervention is crucial to minimize complications and restore proper foot function. In addition to medical treatments, long-term disability benefits may be a possibility for those affected by this debilitating condition, depending on the severity and impact on daily life.

If you’ve been denied long-term disability for charcot foot, contact our Hamilton Disability Lawyers to learn what options you may have. Our Disability Lawyers can provide the help you need to get the disability benefits you deserve. We have experience in dealing with individuals with diabetes and charcot foot and can provide professional representation to ensure that you receive the long-term disability benefits you are entitled to. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment with our firm. Call us today, toll-free, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form on our website and we will be happy to get right back to you.

Understanding the Dangers of Charcot Foot

Charcot foot is a dangerous and progressive condition that primarily affects individuals with neuropathy, often associated with diabetes. The condition results in the weakening of the bones, joints, and soft tissues in the foot, leading to deformities, fractures, and dislocations. A person with Charcot foot may lose sensation in their feet due to neuropathy, which makes it difficult for them to feel pain or detect injuries. This lack of sensation increases the risk of unnoticed injuries or fractures, as the person may unknowingly continue to walk on the affected foot.

The inability to feel pain or discomfort can cause further damage to the already weakened bones and joints, exacerbating the condition. Over time, the foot’s structural integrity becomes compromised, leading to deformities such as an abnormal arch, collapsed midfoot, or rocker-bottom foot. These deformities can cause skin breakdown, leading to ulcers and infection, which, if left untreated, could result in severe complications such as osteomyelitis or even amputation. The dangerous nature of Charcot foot underscores the importance of early diagnosis and intervention to prevent permanent damage and preserve the function of the foot.

Symptoms and Signs of Charcot Foot

The most serious complications of Charcot foot can have severe consequences for an individual’s mobility and quality of life. These complications include:

Severe deformity: Charcot foot can lead to significant deformities in the foot’s structure, such as abnormal arches, collapsed midfoot, or a rocker-bottom appearance. These deformities can make it difficult to walk or find proper footwear, severely impacting daily activities.

Ulcers and infections: The altered foot structure and pressure points can cause skin breakdown, leading to the development of foot ulcers. Poor blood circulation and neuropathy in people with diabetes increase the risk of infection, which can be difficult to treat and may become severe.

Osteomyelitis: Infections in foot ulcers can spread to the bones, causing osteomyelitis, a severe and challenging-to-treat bone infection. Osteomyelitis may require prolonged antibiotic treatment or surgical intervention to remove the infected bone.

Gangrene: Severe infections, if left untreated, can lead to tissue death (gangrene) in the affected area, which may require amputation to prevent the spread of infection and save the person’s life.

Amputation: The most serious complication of Charcot foot is the potential need for amputation, typically as a result of a combination of severe deformity, infection, and gangrene. This life-altering outcome can have a profound impact on an individual’s mobility, independence, and overall quality of life.

Given the serious nature of these complications, it is crucial to diagnose and treat Charcot foot promptly to prevent permanent damage and preserve the function of the foot.

How is Charcot Foot Diagnosed?


Diagnosing Charcot foot involves a combination of clinical examination, medical history, and various imaging tests. The diagnosis is normally made by an orthopedic surgeon. A thorough clinical examination is performed to assess the sensation, blood flow, and deformities in the foot or ankle. An X-ray can reveal bone fractures or joint dislocations related to Charcot foot, as well as any changes in the shape or alignment of the foot. Initial imaging with X-rays serves as a baseline and allows for monitoring the progression of the condition.

Bone Scan

In some cases, a bone scan may be necessary to evaluate the severity of Charcot foot. This imaging test helps in detecting areas of increased bone activity, which can suggest fractures or joint abnormalities. By comparing images of the affected foot with the healthy one, healthcare professionals can identify any potential deformities or concerning areas.

Monitoring the patient’s blood sugar levels and managing their diabetes is also crucial during the diagnostic process, as poorly controlled blood sugar can contribute to the development and progression of Charcot foot4. If the patient has recently experienced an ankle sprain or similar injury, it’s essential to inform the healthcare provider, as such traumas may be associated with the onset of Charcot foot5. In conclusion, a combination of clinical examination, medical history, and imaging tests like X-rays and bone scans is essential to accurately diagnose Charcot foot and determine the most effective course of treatment.

Can Charcot Foot Interfere with a Person’s Ability to Work?

Charcot foot is a rare but serious complication that affects individuals with peripheral neuropathy, particularly those with diabetes mellitus. The condition weakens the bones and joints in the foot or ankle, potentially leading to fractures and dislocations source. This weakening and instability can impair a person’s ability to work, depending on the severity of the condition and the type of occupation.

Physical work, such as standing or walking for extended periods, can become increasingly difficult due to the pain and instability caused by Charcot foot. Symptoms such as redness, soreness, and ulcers may negatively impact a person’s capacity to fulfill job requirements. Casts, braces, or specially-designed shoes may be necessary to stabilize the affected foot, further inhibiting an individual’s ability to perform at work.

Charcot Foot and Long-Term Disability

Individuals suffering from Charcot foot may require surgery to correct deformities or address infection, which can lead to lengthy recovery periods and potential time away from work. In some cases, nonsurgical treatments like immobilization, orthotics, or walking boots may be effective at managing symptoms and preventing further damage. However, these measures may not be sufficient to allow a person to comfortably perform their occupation.

In addition, engaging in weight-bearing activities, such as standing or walking, can be perilous for individuals with Charcot foot, especially given the loss of sensation due to neuropathy. The inability to feel pain or discomfort can lead to unnoticed injuries or fractures, as the person may unknowingly continue to put pressure on the weakened foot. Consequently, repeated stress on the affected foot can exacerbate damage and result in serious fractures, dislocations, or deformities. In some cases, the bones may be too weak to undergo corrective surgery, leaving limited options for treatment. Furthermore, the altered foot structure increases the risk of skin breakdown, which can develop into ulcers and subsequent infections. If left untreated, these infections can progress into severe complications such as osteomyelitis or gangrene, ultimately necessitating amputation to save the person’s life. Thus, it is crucial for those with physical jobs (or even jobs that involve simple tasks as walking) with Charcot foot to closely monitor their condition and avoid excessive weight-bearing activities to minimize the risks associated with this debilitating condition.

If the condition progresses and conservative treatments fail to resolve symptoms or prevent complications, amputation may become necessary. Such procedures and their associated recovery times can significantly impact a person’s ability to continue working in their present occupation. In these cases, long-term disability may be a consideration.

Can I qualify for Long-Term Disability if I Suffer from Charcot Foot?

It is possible to qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits if you suffer from Charcot foot, depending on the severity of your condition and how it impacts your ability to work. To qualify for LTD benefits, you typically need to demonstrate that your condition prevents you from performing the duties of your occupation or, in some cases, any occupation for which you are suited based on your education, training, and experience.

When assessing your eligibility for LTD benefits, the insurance company will consider factors such as:

  1. The severity of your Charcot foot and related complications, including deformities, ulcers, infections, and mobility limitations.
  2. The impact of your condition on your ability to perform work-related tasks, considering both physical and cognitive limitations.
  3. The effectiveness of treatments and any potential for improvement in your condition.
  4. The specific terms and conditions of your long-term disability insurance policy, including waiting periods, definitions of disability, and coverage exclusions.

To support your claim, it is essential to provide thorough medical documentation from your treating physicians, outlining the extent of your Charcot foot, the treatments you have undergone, and the resulting limitations that prevent you from working.

It’s also a good idea to consult with a legal professional or a disability advocate familiar with LTD claims to guide you through the process and ensure you present the best possible case for your eligibility.

Have you been Denied Long-Term Disability for Charcot Foot? Contact our Hamilton Disability Lawyers today.

If suffering from charcot foot has left you unable to work, Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our team of long-term disability lawyers can help guide you through the complex process of obtaining long-term disability benefits. Since 2003, Hamilton Disability Lawyer Matt Lalande has recovered tens of millions in compensation for disability claimants who are were going through the worst times of their lives. Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our Hamilton long-term disability lawyers to get your free consultation today.

We represent disability claimants all over Ontario – and our disability lawyers can help you get the compensation deserve you you. Our consultations are 100% free – and if you decide to work with our Hamilton disability lawyers, the fee is free. We do not charge our clients anything unless we win their case. We are happy to provide you the legal advice you need in order for you to make an informed decision about your own particular situation. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you, at no cost.

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