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Pneumatic Walker proven successful in Treatment of Charcot Foot and Ankle

| February 2008


The Journal, Foot and Ankle Surgery will be publishing an article which is currently ‘in press’ and available on-line that proves that the use of Pneumatic Walkers with a custom orthotic insole can help in the management of Charcot Foot and Ankle. This study* was conducted by Shawn Verity MD and Michael Sochocki MD from the University of Manitoba.

The common way of treating Charcot Foot and Ankle is total contact casting, but this has its drawbacks such as limiting patients bathing and daily wound inspection and complications such as skin maceration, ulceration and progression of deformity are frequent. Taking into account that removable pneumatic braces are already successfully used to treat acute and chronic foot and ankle conditions including diabetic foot ulcers, the researchers hypothesized that the same treatment might help manage Charcot syndrome.



The study was set up to evaluate the efficacy, safety, patient satisfaction and complications of a removable walker brace with a custom orthotic insole for the treatment of a series of patients with Charcot foot and ankle.  Twenty-one patients volunteering 25 feet and ankles with Charcot arthropathy were fitted with the Aircast Pneumatic Walker and an orthotic insole. Follow-up data (at one week and then monthly until consolidation of Charcot) were collected from patient interviews, clinical examination, and radiography. At an average of 7 months, 17 feet (68%) had a consolidation (stage III) with no progression of initial deformity.  The brace had a high satisfaction rate and safety profile. The pneumatic design appeared to provide a more uniform distribution of support around the foot and ankle without localized areas of pressure from a double upright or hinge, and had the adjustability of the air bladders to accommodate deformity or changes in swelling. The plastic material provided a lightweight brace compared with braces made of metal uprights and hinges, and could be heat molded to accommodate major deformity.

The authors concluded that the Aircast Pneumatic Walker fitted with a custom insole was successful in the management of Charcot foot and ankle.



*Verity S, et al., Treatment of Charcot foot and ankle with a prefabricated removable walker brace and custom insole, J Foot Ankle Surg (2007), doi:10.1016/j.fas.2007.10.002

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