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Freiberg Disease

This rare condition, more common in young women, is when the 2nd metatarsal bone becomes deformed, usually during the growth spurt at puberty. The shape of the bone has been described as being like ‘a square peg trying to fit into a round socket’.

What causes Freiberg’s disease?

Freiberg’s disease is caused by:

  • A loss of blood supply to the end of the bone, often when someone reaches puberty
  • Repetitive strain on the bone that stops it being able to develop normally

What are the signs of Freiberg’s disease?

Signs of the disease usually begin during the teens or early 20s and include:

  • Pain, swelling and stiffness in the forefoot, usually near the 2nd metatarsal bone, which is worse if wearing high heels
  • Pain under the ball of the foot
  • Some people develop a limp

How is Freiberg’s disease diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari who will usually carry out X-rays, MRI scans, and possibly bone scans to identify any damage to the bone.

What does treatment involve?

Your symptoms may be improved by resting, wearing specially designed shoes that reduce pressure on the toe, along with taking anti-inflammatory painkillers (if recommended by your doctor). However, in some cases, Mr Heidari may suggest carrying out surgery to tidy up the joint in order to reduce the pain. Surgery can involve straightening the deformed bone to help make the joint work more effectively.

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.