Computer-Assisted Gradual Correction of Charcot Foot Deformities: An In-Depth Evaluation of Stage One of a Planned Two-Stage Approach to Charcot Reconstruction

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2020 Jul-Aug;59(4):841-848. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2019.06.008. Epub 2020 Mar 5.


The surgical treatment of Charcot foot is a widely debated topic, with issues ranging from when to operate to how to properly correct a deformity. Historically, correction of a severe deformity was attempted in 1 acute surgical procedure that frequently required open reduction and internal fixation through large incisions. This 1-time procedure would often result in complications including under- or overcorrection of the deformity, neurovascular injury, or incision dehiscence leading to possible soft-tissue infection or osteomyelitis. This retrospective case series aims to evaluate stage 1 of a planned 2-stage approach to Charcot deformity correction, consisting of gradual modification with the use of computer-assisted external fixation. The purpose of using gradual correction was to safely and accurately correct the Meary and calcaneal inclination angles, which were measured using preoperative and postoperative digital radiographs. The procedure was performed on 18 Charcot foot deformities in 18 patients. Each of the feet had a notably significant rocker bottom deformity and most contained an ulceration. Complete ulcer healing was noted in 100% (13/13) of feet with an ulcer, and a statistically significant corrected Meary's (p < .05) and calcaneal inclination angle (p < .05) to within a normal range was achieved in all deformity corrections with few postoperative problems and complications noted. Average patient follow-up was 39.6 months with a minimum of at least 12 months necessary for inclusion in the study. Therefore, gradual Charcot deformity correction through the use of computer-assisted hexapod external fixation, demonstrates safe, accurate, and reproducible characteristics that adequately prepares the lower extremity for stage 2, the implantation of rigid internal fixation.

Keywords: Charcot; Hexapod; deformity; external fixation; peripheral neuropathy; rocker bottom foot; surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic* / surgery
  • Computers
  • Diabetic Foot* / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetic Foot* / surgery
  • Foot Deformities*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies