Author(s): Verity S, Sochocki M, Embil JM, Trepman E
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Removable walker braces have been used successfully to treat acute and chronic foot and ankle conditions including diabetic foot ulcers. We hypothesized that a removable walker brace may be successfully used in the management of the Charcot foot and ankle. METHODS: Twenty-five feet and ankles with Charcot arthropathy in 21 patients (bilateral in 4 patients) were treated with a prefabricated, pneumatic removable walker brace fitted with a custom orthotic insole. Follow-up data were collected from patient interview, examination, and radiography. RESULTS: Brace fitting was accomplished usually with a single visit to the prosthetist or pedorthist/orthotist. At the most recent evaluation, 17 (68\%) feet and ankles had consolidation (stage III) of the Charcot arthropathy (average duration of brace use, 29+/-19 weeks) and were subsequently treated with rocker sole shoes, insoles, and ankle foot orthoses; 8 (32\%) feet and ankles had ongoing brace treatment. Three feet developed new deformity during brace treatment, but average radiographic parameters of hindfoot to forefoot alignment had minimal change between initial and final radiographs at an average of 36+/-24 weeks after initial radiographic evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: The prefabricated, pneumatic removable walker brace fitted with a custom insole was successful in the management of the Charcot foot and ankle and had a high satisfaction rate and safety profile despite frequent, albeit usually minor, complications.
This article was published in Foot Ankle Surg
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics