(See also Overview of Foot Problems Overview of Foot Problems Some foot problems start in the foot itself, for example, resulting from a foot injury. Problems can occur in any bone, joint, muscle, tendon, or ligament of the foot. Foot and ankle fractures... read more .)
Freiberg disease is a common cause of pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia Pain in the Ball of the Foot (Metatarsalgia) Pain in the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia and may have many different causes (including arthritis, poor circulation, pinching of the nerves between the toes, posture problems, and... read more ). The cause is injury to the bone. This disorder usually occurs in girls who are going through puberty and who are growing rapidly or in people in whom the bone connected to the base of the big toe (the first metatarsal bone) is short or the second metatarsal bone is long. In both cases, the second metatarsal head can be subjected to repeated stresses such as during dancing, jogging, or running.
Symptoms of Freiberg Disease
In people with Freiberg disease, pain is usually worse when bearing weight, particularly when pushing off of the foot, or when wearing high-heeled shoes. The joint may be swollen and stiff.
Diagnosis of Freiberg Disease
Doctors do x-rays to confirm the diagnosis of Freiberg disease.
Treatment of Freiberg Disease
Footwear changes or orthoses
To relieve painful flare-ups of Freiberg disease, doctors may inject corticosteroids and tell people to rest and keep weight off their foot.
Low-heeled shoes, possibly those that have thicker soles than normal and rounded heels (called rocker sole modifications), or inserts or other devices placed in the shoe that change the position or range of movement of the foot to relieve pressure on the affected joints or painful areas (orthoses) are helpful.
Rarely, doctors may surgically remove the second metatarsal bone to relieve pain that is difficult to manage.