What is Freiberg’s Disease?

Freibergs disease

Freiberg’s disease is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes pain in the legs and feet. The symptoms can be very serious, but there are treatments available to patients that can improve their condition. Read on to learn more about this disease, and how you can get help.


Diagnosis of Freiberg’s disease begins with a detailed clinical assessment and examination. It is important to know the patient’s history, as well as the physical and biomechanical characteristics of the affected foot. Depending on the symptoms, treatment may be aimed at reducing pain and inflammation, as well as improving mobility. Surgical options may also be considered, depending on the patient’s age and medical history.

Symptoms of the disease include swelling and bruising around the metatarsal head. The patient also experiences pain and stiffness. A patient with advanced stages of the disease will show arthritis of the metatarsal phalangeal joint (MTPJ), as well as osteophyte formation. An MRI scan can help confirm the diagnosis. If the MTPJ becomes severely damaged, surgery may be recommended.

Surgery for the patient can be either conservative or operative. Non-operative treatments include footwear modifications, such as custom-made shoes and foot orthotics. Pain relief is often provided with cold therapy and painkillers. Surgical options include arthroplasty and metatarsal head resection. Although the majority of patients respond to non-operative treatment, some may require surgical intervention.

Freiberg’s disease is a rare foot condition. It usually affects the second and third metatarsal bones in both feet, and less often in the fourth. In most cases, the symptoms begin with local tenderness and bruising. Some patients experience numbness and throbbing pain in the area. While the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, it appears to be caused by microfractures in the metatarsal bones. These fractures prevent blood from circulating to the end of the bone.

In addition, the lack of oxygen causes the metatarsal bone to die. Symptoms of the disease can be quite debilitating. Patients may feel acute pain in the area and have difficulty taking weight off their feet. This can result in a limp. Fortunately, the pain is generally temporary, and the condition tends to resolve on its own. However, it can be painful to walk or run, and the patient will often need crutches or shoes.

Surgical treatment of the disease involves dorsiflexion osteotomy below the metatarsal head. Gauthier’s osteotomy is the gold standard for the surgical treatment of Freiberg’s. After the osteotomy, the joint space is restored, which provides better long-term function. Other procedures may be used, but they are not as effective.

X-rays can be helpful in determining the stage of the disease, but they often miss the early stages of the disease. MRIs are a more reliable tool for detecting disease. When performed, they can rule out other possible diagnoses, such as metatarsal agenesis or a tumour.

Several non-surgical options exist, such as wearing rigid-soled shoes and using foot orthotics to offload the affected area. There are also custom-made shoes and padded insoles that can help reduce pain. Anti-inflammatory tablets, gel pads, and anti-slip socks may also be of help.

Treatment options

If you are suffering from the pain of a foot condition called Freiberg’s disease, there are several treatment options that may be available to you. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor will determine which treatment option will best fit your needs.

The primary goal of the initial treatment is to reduce pain and improve function. The secondary goal is to prevent further progression of joint destruction. A variety of conservative measures, such as footwear modifications and plantar orthotics, are also used to treat the pain associated with this condition.

In addition, some patients benefit from pharmacotherapy, such as anti-inflammatory pills and corticosteroid injections. These procedures can be particularly helpful in alleviating the pain associated with acute flare-ups.

Surgical treatment is recommended in the event that the patient has no response to other treatment approaches. The gold standard surgical method is Gauthier’s osteotomy, which removes loose bodies and restores joint space in patients with Freiberg’s disease. This procedure has low morbidity and improves symptoms in the long term.

Other operative treatment methods include dorsal closing wedge osteotomies, resection arthroplasty, and osteochondral transplantation. However, operative management is rarely necessary. Fortunately, the majority of Freiberg’s Disease patients recover to a normal level of activity.

For patients with early-stage Freiberg’s Disease, conservative treatment is often sufficient. Non-operative treatments include a reduction in foot pressure, casting, and metatarsal pads. Custom-made shoes or orthotic inserts can also be helpful. Immobilization in a short-leg walking cast can help to control the symptoms associated with this condition.

A surgical option for patients with severe cases of Freiberg’s Disease is an excision of the metatarsal head. The goal of this surgery is to relieve recalcitrant pain and return the patient to a normal, functional gait. Surgery is usually performed on both feet at once, though a single foot can also be affected.

Surgery is a last resort and is only used if conservative treatments have failed. Patients should have informed consent prior to surgery. During the operation, a surgeon will make a cut on the metatarsal head and remove the damaged cartilage. While there is no definitive consensus on which treatment is most effective, current recommendations are based on a small series of patients treated by various methods.

Surgical options can also be used to treat the underlying cause of the condition. Osteochondral autograft transplantation is a promising option. Several case series have shown positive outcomes from this procedure.

Freiberg’s disease is an uncommon foot disorder that can greatly affect your quality of life. Although it is rare, it can occur at any age. It typically affects adolescent girls and women. Symptoms include limping, swelling, unexplained calluses, and forefoot pain when weight-bearing. Your foot physician can diagnose and treat your condition to restore your health.


The aetiology of Freiberg’s disease is still largely unknown. However, it has been suggested that the primary causative factors are trauma and vascular compromise at the epiphyseal plate. In addition to vascular damage, other factors, such as repetitive dorsiflexion injuries, have also been cited. Regardless of the aetiology, Freiberg’s disease causes pain and stiffness in the feet and lower limbs.

Typical symptoms of Freiberg’s disease include pain and swelling in the forefoot and lower limbs. These symptoms are most commonly experienced by adolescent girls. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor. Your doctor may recommend resting your foot, using orthotics to reduce pressure on painful areas, and if necessary, prescribing a corticosteroid injection.

During puberty, the blood supply to the metatarsal head is compromised. This leads to the formation of abnormal joint tissue and, in some cases, avascular necrosis (death) of the metatarsal head. Affected patients report chronic foot discomfort and a limp, although some may not experience these symptoms.

Symptoms are generally triggered by weight-bearing activities. If you suffer from these symptoms, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory tablets or a padded insole. Those who experience severe discomfort may also be given a steroid injection. Surgical intervention is required if symptoms are severe.

The most commonly affected metatarsal is the second. The condition may also affect the third. Females are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men. Among the most common aetiologies are a vascular compromise, repetitive dorsiflexion injuries, and genetic predisposition.

Several studies have attempted to establish the cause of Freiberg’s disease. Some suggest that traumatic injury is the primary cause, while others suggest that it is the result of abnormal biomechanics. While this may be true for some patients, a greater proportion of those with the disease do not experience a traumatic event. Other aetiologies include avascular calcification, microfractures, and a combination of factors.

Studies of Freiberg’s disease have shown that the onset of symptoms can occur at any age, although they are most common in teenagers. Most patients are asymptomatic, but they may develop post-Freiberg’s arthrosis, which consists of a reduced range of motion, crepitus, osteophytes lipping, and plantar plate tears. It is important to treat the problem as soon as possible so that the condition does not progress further.

The first known case of Freiberg’s disease was reported by Alfred H. Freiberg in 1914. Since then, the diagnosis has been confirmed by several authors. Although it is believed that most cases of the disease are asymptomatic, they can be difficult to diagnose. X-rays and imaging are used to confirm the diagnosis.

Approximately one in six cases of Freiberg’s disease has been found to have a traumatic aetiology. According to some studies, the aetiology of Freiberg’s has been estimated to be 15 per cent, but a recent study suggests that it is actually closer to 10 per cent.


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