Finding anything rare is a challenge. Think about people who collect rare coins or stamps. They frequently have to go to great lengths to find and then acquire the rare object they’re chasing. The very fact that they’re hard to find is part of what makes them so unusual. Rare foot conditions, like Freiberg’s disease, can be just as hard to catch. It’s easy to misdiagnose and frequently gets missed when you go looking for answers for your discomfort. Correctly identifying this culprit of forefoot pain, however, is an important part of getting the accurate treatment you need.
Freiberg’s disease is an unusual problem that causes the head of one of your metatarsal bones—usually the one attached to either your second or third toe—to flatten. This makes it painful for you to put weight on the ball of the foot, as well as stiffens and limits that particular digit. Because it’s rare, however, it can be hard to identify. Knowing the symptoms and warning signs can help diagnose it.
The most common symptom is ball of the foot pain, particularly under the affected toe, that feels worse when you’re active. The discomfort may improve somewhat with rest, but the forefoot pain tends to grow more intense the longer the condition progresses. Stiffness in the ball of the foot is also common. You may notice that your toes have a more limited range of motion. Areas under the forefoot may feel tender to the touch as well.
These symptoms can help point experts like our team at Carolina Podiatry Group in the right direction, but we’ll need diagnostic images that show the damage to the metatarsal bone to be sure. X-rays display your forefoot bones and may show the actual flattening in the head of your metatarsal. If the condition is still in the early stages, however, X-rays may not be conclusive. More advanced imaging with an MRI can show greater detail.
Once the condition and its severity have been diagnosed, we can help you get the treatment you need. The first step, of course, is seeking help for your forefoot pain and starting the hunt for the rare culprit. Our team at Carolina Podiatry Group in Lancaster and Fort Mill, SC, are more than happy to help. Make an appointment online, or call us: (803) 285-1411 for Lancaster, or (803) 548-FEET for Fort Mill.