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Note the flattened tip of the 2nd Metatarsal bone.

Note the flattened tip of the 2nd Metatarsal bone.

Freiberg’s disease refers to a painful condition mostly affecting the 2nd metatarsal head. This is the bony ‘knuckle’ in the ball of the foot behind the 2nd toe.

What is Freiberg’s Disease?

The term is also used when the 3rd or 4th metatarsal bones are affected, though these are much less common. Over 80% of cases affect females and most commonly occur in young women up to around 20 years of age. It is likely that Freiberg’s disease, when it occurs in children, is due to a disruption of blood flow to the tip of the bone occurring because of excessive pressure. This happens at the site of the growth plate which closes over in adolescence and therefore is not a factor in the adult sufferers. In both cases, the mechanical cause is thought to be the same. This may be a single traumatic event such as a heavy blow, or a multitude of small insults that accumulate in a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ manner.

Possible Causes of Freiberg’s Infraction or Disease

The term infarct means tissue death because of lack of blood. Freiberg’s Infarction is the term applied to the condition when it occurs in a child. It is likely that the excessive pressure causes a small fracture to occur within the cartilage growth plate that exists between the long shaft of the metatarsal bone and the head, cutting off the blood flow. On x-ray, the area will be more transparent as calcium leaves the bone which will soon collapse in on itself. The process of death and regeneration takes about a year to run through and the bone will be denser and whiter when complete. A classic x-ray sign is a flattening of the usually rounded tip of the metatarsal bone and a thickening of the shaft.
Freiberg’s Infraction is the terminology used in the adult condition where the x-ray signs are very similar. It has been shown that, while many people have two or three arteries that can supply blood to the area, some have only one making complete loss of blood flow more possible. Another factor that is very common in sufferers is a 1st metatarsal that does not function properly and shunts its share of the body weight over to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bones. Podiatrists term this 1st Ray Incompetence.
Generally, those that suffer from Freiberg’s disease feel pain and or stiffness in the front of their foot, which makes it difficult to walk and usually results in a limp. You might also be experiencing some swelling, tenderness and your ability to move your foot as freely as you once could is potentially limited to a certain extent also.

At Walk Without Pain, our podiatrists in Brisbane recognise that this is a rare condition and something that causes serious problems for those that fall victim to it. The cause of this disease comes from activities as simple as walking, that is, any activity that requires the feet to bear the weight of the body. Of course, given that this presents in patients usually in their adolescent years or in their twenties there is a distinct possibility that it comes about as a result of trauma experienced through injury from playing sports, for example.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Freiberg’s Disease

Examination of the foot in both conditions will show the area to be swollen, stiff and painful. To find the most tender spot, the podiatrist will flex the little toes back as far as possible to expose the end of the metatarsals as well as the bottom surface of them. Treatment: Referral to a podiatrist is always strongly recommended when Freiberg’s disease is suspected. Freiberg’s Disease treatment will focus on reducing the pressure on the 2nd metatarsal head, either by deflecting pressure away from this area, causing the 1st metatarsal to do its share of the weight bearing or a combination of both.
While there are many different types of issue that can present that result in pain experienced in feet, many are quite common, relatively speaking, and treatments are widely accessible regardless of where you live. However, for some folks, they experience perhaps a similar kind of pain but one that stems from much more rare complications. Freiberg’s disease treatment sometimes referred to as Freiberg’s infraction treatment can be a little more difficult to find, the team here at Walk Without Pain Podiatry Clinics in Brisbane are perfectly placed to assist and help relieve you of your discomfort.

Even for those that have tried many supposed foot gurus or were let down by the claims of other practitioners, we want you to know that until you have met our team there is still hope that your pain can be eradicated. And, because we are a local service, all you have to do is hop in the car and drive across town to access solutions that could change your daily life.

Reclaim Your Freedom From Freiberg’s Disease

If you are going through the terrible pain associated with Freiberg’s disease there really is only one solution. You must book an appointment with a podiatrist that is well-versed in the current thinking and techniques the podiatry community use to treat it. Here at Walk Without Pain, each of our 9 consultants undergoes training each year to ensure that we have the most up to date solutions available to our clients.

With a wealth of the latest technology at our fingertips and over 87 combined years of experience under our collective belts, you can feel confident that once we start work on your problem, a solution will be found. Freiberg’s disease treatment is something that we have carried out many times over and have methods designed to relieve the pressure on your metatarsals and deflect it elsewhere so that you can move about with greater freedom.

So, don’t put up with pain for any longer. Make an appointment at Walk Without Pain today and let us help you reclaim the joy in your life.

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