What Is Freiberg’s Disease?
Posted on Mar 05, 2021

Freiberg’s disease, also known as a Freiberg’s Infarction, is a condition that affects the joints in the feet with pain and stiffness.

Let’s break down the symptoms, causes, and recovery methods of this condition.


Freiberg’s disease is an articular disease, or condition affecting the joints, named for Alfred H. Freiberg who first described the condition and its effects.

This condition is considered to be rare, affecting the second or third metatarsal toes.

It is often a cause of metatarsalgia, or pain in the metatarsophalangeal joints.

Freiberg’s disease falls under the header of osteochondrosisor conditions that affect young individuals who are still in the midst of their bone growth and development.

Other examples of osteochondrosis include:

  • Sever’s disease
  • Blount’s disease
  • And Köhler’s disease


This condition is seen most often in adolescent females and only affects a small percentage of males.

Freiberg’s condition can affect older individuals as well, though this demographic is less common.

When it affects older people, it is known as Freiberg’s Infarction.

This is a condition whereby the bone inside the joint dies due to lack of bloodflow.  

The sufferer may notice swelling, stiffness, and pain at the metatarsal head, or the base of the toe at the ball of the foot.

Often this is misdiagnosed as a Morton’s neuroma due to the location of the pain. This pain is due to the breakdown of bone tissue within the joints.

Repeated stress from physical activity and wearing footwear like high heels that place extensive pressure on the metatarsal joints can further exacerbate Frieberg’s Infarction.


Unfortunately, the risk factors and causes of Freiberg’s disease are not easy to pinpoint, as is the case with many cases of osteochondrosis.

Avascular necrosis (or dead bone from lack of bloodflow) can actually flatten the metatarsal head. Collapse often follows.  

This condition requires a physical inspection to assess the degree of pain and swelling, as well as to gauge how the mobility of the toes has been affected.

This may be followed with non-operative treatment, including pain medication and immobilization of the affected toes.

Imaging is required for a true diagnosis.  

For basic nonoperative treatment of this pain, some find that stiff-soled footwear helps to protect the feet and limit movement and irritation.

It is thought best to use a rocker under the forefoot to limit motion at the site of the pain.

Padded orthotics may be of use, as well. The padding should be behind the point of maximal pain in order to offload it.

In extreme cases, more invasive methods of treatment may be considered. 


Corticosteroid injections are suggested as means of temporary relief from pain.

Surgical intervention, such as metatarsophalangeal arthrotomy, can be sought to remove any loose or impending substances that may be affecting the movement of the metatarsal heads.

Biologic injections are being used more and more often for joint conditions like Frieberg’s.

Hyaluronic acid fillers are able to be injected into the fat pads to offload and pad these joints too.  

Please note that while steroid injections may be low-hanging fruit in the realm of pain treatment, there are many risks and possible negative side effects that may develop as a result.

However, most insurance companies cover these treatments.

Consider more conservative means of relief as your first route of treatment!


Dr. Meredith Warner, the creator of The Healing Sole and Well Theory, believes in the power of natural healing and recovery.

As an orthopedic surgeon, she has seen countless patients for a variety of orthopedic and musculoskeletal concerns.

In some circumstances, medical intervention may be necessary, yes – but Dr. Warner believes in equipping the body with the tools and aids needs to allow the body’s naturally-engrained recovery mechanisms to work.

Her Palmer flip flop design is perfect for conditions that affect the metatarsals and forefoot, like Freiberg’s disease and Frieberg’s Infarction.

The Palmer flip flop is designed with a supportive metatarsal bar located behind the metatarsal heads in a perfect position to offload them, as well as a level toe position to prevent any pressure and tension in the major areas of pain.

A gently raised arch support, a gentle rocker bottom sole, and a compressible inner heel supports the foot, protects from impact, and provides comfort at high areas of tension.

This leaves you free to move throughout your daily responsibilities – literally – without being slowed down by pain and discomfort.

If you are experiencing forefoot pain from Freiberg’s disease, Morton’s neuroma, hallux rigidus, or sensitivity in any other area of your foot, this style is designed for your relief and success.

Order today and say yes to relief!