Freiberg’s disease usually begins as a pain in the ball of a child’s foot. Its onset is often linked to an injury to the growth plate of one of the long bones behind the toes, called metatarsals. The loss of blood flow to the growth plate causes pain. Freiberg’s disease is most frequently seen in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15. It is three times as likely to occur in females than in males.

Symptoms of Freiberg’s Disease

Pain generally occurs in the forefoot at the metatarsal head, especially with weight bearing activities, when pushing off this area of the foot, or when wearing high heels. The metatarsophalangeal joint may be swollen as well and have limited range of motion.

Some people may feel as though they are stepping on something hard while walking, such as a stone or marble. This disease is confirmed and diagnosed with x-ray. Every once in a while, people will not have symptoms of Freiberg’s disease, but the condition is found when x-rays are taken for other purposes.

Treatment Options

The type of treatment depends on the severity of the condition, the symptoms present, and the age of the patient. There are several types of treatments, but the main goal is to take pressure of the affected foot and allow for the joint to rest and the swelling and pain to be reduced. Treatment for Frieberg’s disease consists of a variety of methods to reduce pressure under the affected bone. This may require the use of crutches and/or prescription of a custom orthotic.

Corticosteroid injections and immobilization may help reduce some of the painful flare-ups. If other treatment options are not effective, surgery may be necessary to experience relief from the pain.

If you think you or your child may have Frieberg’s disease or another foot condition, be sure to contact Dr. Nathan Lucas at Renuva Xtremity. Our team can help ensure your feet feel as healthy as possible.