What Is Charcot's Joint Disease?
Named for the French neurologist Jean-Marie Charcot who discovered the disease in 1868, Charcot’s joint disease is a chronic degenerative disease of the joints. A progressive disease, Charcot’s joint is characterized by swelling and inflammation, unsteadiness of the joint, hemorrhage, and changes in the bone itself. As such, the disease is also known as neuropathic arthropathy.
The symptoms associated with the disease are distinctly linked with the actual description of the disease. Symptoms include inflammation in the joints, internal blood loss, warmth or heat felt in the joints, cartilage destruction and change in the bone structure. While pain in the joints is experienced, it is typically less severe than might be expected when viewing the actual damage in the joint. The damaged joint is often described as “boggy” or swollen.
A number of theories have been identified as to the cause of Charcot’s joint disease. In any case, the point of agreement of each of those theories is that specific predisposing factors must be present for Charcot’s joint to develop. Those factors include peripheral sensory neuropathy or the total absence of sensation or feeling, normal circulation and history of a previous injury even if extremely minor. As such, certain individuals are more susceptible to the disease than others. Those typically affected by the disease include individuals with diabetes mellitus, chronic alcoholism, leprosy, hereditary insensitivity to pain, syringomyelia and multiple sclerosis.
While the underlying disease, such as syphilis or diabetes, causing Charcot’s joint may be easily treated, Charcot’s joint is actually relatively difficult to treat. Nonetheless, some natural options are available for the treatment of neuropathy. Fish oil and vitamin D are effective supplements to add to a joint treatment regimen. Additionally, evening primrose oil can also relieve the symptoms associated with Charcot’s joint. Restricting consumption of fatty foods is also important to prevent added weight gain and increased stress on the affected joint.