Freiberg’s Disease

Freiberg's Disease


Freiberg’s disease is a problem that develops in the joints of the feet. The most common location is the 2nd metatarsal head behind the second toe. This area is highly effected because the anatomy that makes up the area adjacent to the second metatarsal is very stable and therefore more rigid than the other joints. This rigidity results in a stiffer joint which is less adaptable to trauma. Children ages 13-15 an develop this disorder since they have softer developing bones. The growth plates that are present within the 2nd metatarsal can become damaged and therefore Freiberg’s disease can occur.

The doctor will typically diagnose this problem with a proper physical exam and simple x-rays. The X-ray will show changes to the 2nd metatarsal head where there will be flattening of the joint space and also some spurring. The X-ray will also be helpful in ruling out any other pathologies such as stress fractures. Once the diagnose is made then treatment consists of steroid injections, custom orthotics, padding, walking boot, and orthotics. All these treatment options can help to reduce pressure and decrease the swelling to the area. Surgery may be necessary if the joint changes become severely painful.