View Full Version : Anyone else have Freiberg's disease?

04-22-2009, 07:32 PM
Yesterday I spent the day walking a bit more than usual...I went to a local Tulip Festival that I've always wanted to attend. I've seen the ads for the past few years, and yesterday when I woke it was a beautiful sunny day so I decided it would be the perfect day to go and get some pictures. I had an absolutely wonderful time...all by myself...kids at school...husband at work...the day was mine to enjoy. When I got there, the parking lots were full and there were people everywhere. I saw a huge line of people waiting to catch a shuttle for a ride all the way out, but I decided that since most of them were disbled and senior citizens from Retirement homes, I wouldn't take a seat away...I was feeling good, so I walked. I wasn't in a hurry...took my time and took hundreds of pictures. The colors were amazing! Acres and acres of tulips in every color of the rainbow. I had such a great time, but even though I walked slowly, I noticed last night that my left foot was aching and sore to walk on. I had aggravated a condition I have in my left foot called Freiberg's disease. It's not too bad, much better today, but it got me to wondering if anybody else with Lupus might have this also.

So that brings me to my question? Does anybody else have Freiberg's disease in their feet?

This is something that was discovered in me by an Orthopedist quite by accident about 15 years ago. Following a hip surgery, I had been frustrated in having to use crutches for such a long time and had been hopping, just a few hops, if I didn't need to go to far...like in the bathroom...hop a couple times over to the hairdryer, etc. I didn't like how long it took me to pick up my crutches, position them under my arms, stop and think which foot to step on first, etc. so it was faster to hop, just a bit. Anyway, when my left foot started hurting and made it very painful to step on and lasted for 3 or 4 weeks, a physical therapist at a Child Development Center where I worked, made me come down to the clinic one afternoon and she took x-rays of the foot and had me get a free consult with the Orthopedist that ran the clinic. Initially, he discovered that I had dozens of small stress fractures all over the sides and bottom of my foot. We talked about the fact that because of the Prednisone that I'd been on long-term and the resulting osteoporosis, I had been fracturing my feet many times over the past years and didn't really notice it because of my high tolerance for pain. He saw lots of old stress fractures and several new ones that were caused by impatience with the crutches. Boy did I get scolded! (nicely, cuz he was a sweet doctor)

While he was showing me the spots on the x-ray, he noticed something that he'd only seen a few times in his long career. He told me I had something called Freiberg's disease. He asked if I ever had much pain in the center of my foot, just below the toe next to the big one...a pain that showed up in the center, bottom part of my foot. I told him that yes, I'd had some minor pain since my teens that made it a bit uncomfortable to walk at times, but it would come and go and wasn't much of a bother. He told me that it appeared I had been compensating for this minor pain for a very long time by walking very slightly on the outside of that foot. He showed me where I had built up a small callous line. And I also had a small circular callous on the bottom of my foot right below the affected toe. He went on to explain that this disease is often discovered after some other injury to the foot, when it would show up on x-ray. In other words, it wasn't something that would normally bring you to the doctor. He said they don't know what causes it, but it occurs when the bones in the foot are forming during your childhood years and finally reaches it's final ossification time around age 18-20. The bones at the base of this metatarsel don't form correctly and when they ossify (or fuse together) it can calcify and small chips can break off and cause irritation. It slowly caused the bone there to get flat and odd shaped. He told me there really is no treatment for it, that you can use some extra padding in your shoe to support and cushion the area, and that it generally continues to get more painful as the years go by, with more and more foot use. What a surprise this all was to me. I had no idea. Anyway, I get along fine with it, but I tend to forget sometimes, especially with all the other health issues I deal with. There are times when I'm feeling so good I forget about it and walk a bit too much and irritate it and it gets very tender to the touch...like yesterday.

So, thinking about this last night led me to wondering if anybody else with Lupus might have this as well. I'm not saying it has anything to do with Lupus, but we all have so many other overlapping conditions and odd things diagnosed, that I thought maybe I'd find someone else that has this diagnosis...Or perhaps, someone with unexplained mild foot pain with a buildup of callous. Not trying to cause anyone undue worry, I'm just curious because I've never known anyone else with this odd disease.

I thought I'd share a link to an Arthrits website where I found some information about Freiberg's disease which will do a better job of explaining exactly what it is.

The URL is: http://arthritis-symptom.com/d-g/freibergs-disease.htm

It mentions that during your teen years or around age 18, when the bones are going through the final ossification process, things may be started by a trauma to the foot in that particular area. When I think back to that time in my life, I was very involved in gymnastics and had numerous small injuries to both of my feet. Probably when it happened for me.

I'm not trying to make everyone analyze their feet or worry needlessly, just curious, like I said.

Thanks to anyone who actually reads this all the way through. :thanks:


Lori :cool2:

04-22-2009, 08:43 PM
I read all the way through, and learned about something I've never heard of before. It's interesting because it's hard to say what is possibly related to Lupus, and what is not. We all seem to have these other odd symptoms beyond Lupus, some have a name, some don't. Maybe someday these secondary conditions will be the final clues as to what the heck Lupus and all of it's common symptoms really are. It can't be a coincidence that so many people here have fibromyalgia as well as Lupus. Maybe Freiberg's is another piece of the puzzle.


04-24-2009, 10:32 AM
Thanks for your comments, Rob. You never know, someone may come along in the forum in the future and search for Freiberg's disease, wondering the same thing I am. I figured it can't hurt to mention it for education purposes, as well.

I was surprised when I first googled it, to discover it on an arthritis website. When the doctor explained it to me, he went into the technical stuff and didn't say anything about arthritis. For quite a few years, I assumed it wasn't anything at all related to Lupus...just another thing attributed to my bad genes.

I wonder sometimes if there are any researchers out there that might be looking at things like Freiberg's, as well as the many other conditions that those of us with Lupus have, as the pieces of the puzzle. I'm not sure how they'd be able to gather all that kind of information together, though...since it seems that no one really interviews actual people with Lupus. How could they know the many conditions that all of us have?

I think I'll ask my doctor at the next appointment if he, and other doctors, report that kind of stuff to anyone that studies or does research on Lupus. I'm curious to know.

Lori :cool2:

04-24-2009, 12:19 PM
thanks lori,

I too read all the way through your very informative post. Whereas i have had some issues with my feet, nothing like Freiberg's has ever been mentioned. It will be interesting to see if anyone else has similar issues.

I am so glad that you enjoyed the tulip festival, sorry it caused you some pain, but i bet it was worth it. share some of the pics when you can.

hope you are having a great friday.

04-24-2009, 01:05 PM
Hey Phyllis...

I thought I sent you a PM about my photo album...sent them to a few of my friends, about the pics I posted on my page.

Go check out the Album...Tulips. There are more pictures there than you probably have time to look at... :)

The color was spectacular, I just had to have pics of every single tulip....well, not quite, but almost! :cute:

Take care,

Lori :cool2: