Freiberg Disease Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 01, 2017
  • Author: Shayne D Fehr, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Anthony E Johnson, MD  more...
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Presentation

History

Patients who have Freiberg disease typically present with complaints of activity-related forefoot pain. Walking alone is often sufficient to cause pain. Some patients describe an extended (months to years) history of chronic forefoot pain with episodic exacerbation, whereas others present with pain of recent onset that is related to a specific injury or event. A history of trauma may not be noted. Patients may present with stiffness and a limp. The pain is often vague and poorly localized to the forefoot. Some patients describe the sensation of a small, hard object under the foot.

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Physical Examination

Physical examination typically reveals a limited range of motion (ROM), swelling, and tenderness with direct palpation of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. In early stages of the disease, MTP tenderness may be the only finding. In later stages, crepitus or deformity may be present. A skin callus may be seen on the plantar surface of the affected metatarsal head.

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