Freiberg’s disease is a rare disorder of the foot’s metatarsal joints. The metatarsal bones run from the toes to the arch of the foot. With Freiberg’s disease, the joint surfaces disintegrate and/ or collapse and abnormal tissue forms in the joint. It can be the result of foot injury or trauma or the occurrence of longer-than-normal metatarsal bones. At its onset, the disease can cause pain or stiffness in the forefoot, which can become chronic; however, some cases are asymptomatic in the early stages. Although anyone can become susceptible to Freiberg’s disease, females are three times more likely to develop it than males, and it usually occurs during adolescence.
Freiberg’s disease may heal without treatment in its earlier stages. Usually, treatment involves resting the affected joint area to alleviate pressure and allow healing, orthotics, and cortisone. Joint surgery or replacement may be necessary in severe cases.