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What is a Freiberg Infraction?

What is a Freiberg Infraction?

A Freiberg infraction, which is also referred to as Freiberg disease, is a serious condition that develops in the foot following a traumatic injury. This is typically viewed as a serious complication of a prior foot injury that may lead to long-term mobility problems, including arthritis. When someone develops this condition, they have problems that impact the metatarsals (typically the second, third, and fourth) in their feet. The metatarsals are the bones that connect the base of the foot to the toes. Therefore, they play a significant role in balance, support, and mobility.

Because of the potential of this condition to lead to long-term health issues, it is important for everyone to understand some basic information about a Freiberg infraction. Hopefully, understanding this condition will lead to a more rapid diagnosis and treatment. In turn, this should also lead to an improved prognosis.

How Does a Freiberg Infraction Develop?

When someone is told they have a Freiberg infraction, this often arises due to multiple reasons. One of the most common causes is a traumatic injury. Whether someone strikes their foot during an auto accident or sustains damage to the bones of the feet in a slip and fall event, a blow to the metatarsals can compromise their integrity. While the bones may gradually heal, a Freiberg infraction develops when the blood vessels are torn.

These blood vessels play an important role in transferring oxygen and nutrients to the various bone cells in the foot. When these vessels are damaged, oxygen and nutrients can no longer reach the metatarsals in the foot. As a result, the bone cells start to die. This leads to osteonecrosis, damage to the foot, and the ultimate diagnosis of Freiberg disease.

What are the Symptoms of This Condition?

If someone develops a Freiberg infraction, there are several signs and symptoms that might develop. Some of the most common include:

Pain: Pain is perhaps the most common symptom of this condition. As the cells of the foot are deprived of essential nutrients, they will start to die. In turn, this will lead to pain. This discomfort is typically made worse by walking, running, or moving the foot.

Swelling: The tissue around the metatarsals will also start to swell. The body will sense that the metatarsals are experiencing distress. Cells and fluid will be rushed to the site of the infraction to start the healing process. As a result, the foot will swell.

Redness: This process will also lead to inflammation in and around the foot. This inflammation will gradually turn the foot red. The color may change progressively over the course of the disease.

How is the Injury Diagnosed?

If the doctor believes that a Freiberg infraction is present, the next step will be to confirm the diagnosis with imaging. Often, x-rays are enough to confirm the diagnosis; however, an MRI scan might also be ordered to grade the severity.

On a set of x-rays, the doctor will look for signs of bone damage in the metatarsals. This might look like a cyst in the bone itself. As the bone degrades, the density of the metatarsal will start to drop. This will cause the bone to look more like a cyst than a metatarsal. The doctor will also look for enlarged, widened joints due to swelling secondary to the injury. Finally, the physician might also see bone fragments detached from the rest of the metatarsal.

The Development of Arthritis

The treatments of this condition will surround symptomatic control and preventing disease progression. Steroids and casts might be used to reduce inflammation, control pain, and remove stress from the foot. There are also specialized shoes that can help remove pressure from the damaged metatarsal bones.

The doctors will also try to prevent the development of arthritis. Inflammation in and around the joints, combined with reduced bone density, can cause the development of early-onset osteoarthritis. This disease develops when inflammation from a Freiberg infraction destroys the joint space. The symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, and mobility problems. This can lead to adverse impacts on someone’s quality of life. With a well-rounded, comprehensive treatment strategy, a Freiberg infraction can be controlled, and foot function can be preserved.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. A Frieberg infraction has the potential to cause serious damage to someone’s foot. If someone you are close to has developed serious mobility problems due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact me today by using (916) 921-6400 and by calling (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free legal advice.

I am an honored member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and in the Top One Percent, which is a National Association of Distinguished Counsel. The members of this forum have worked for settlements & have won verdicts valued at more than $1 million dollars.

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Citation of Picture: The picture at the top was located first on Pixabay and has been printed here with permission under the Creative Commons License.

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