What is Freiberg's Infarction (Avascular Necrosis) and How Can It Cause Foot Pain?

Freiberg's infarction is a form of avascular necrosis that occurs in the metatarsal heads of the foot.  Avascular necrosis occurs when the blood flow to a bone is cut off and the bone begins to deteriorate and fragment and typically collapses. This can be very painful especially on the metatarsal heads because these are bones have increased weightbearing, and it typically affects the joint surface which causes an arthritic type pain.

Freiberg's infarction can occur in adolescence as the bones are forming and patients typically present with metatarsalgia and if it is advanced enough, we will see changes on x-rays. Early treatment is typically immobilization to try to allow the bone to revascularize and heal itself. More long-term, custom orthotics can be helpful to try to support the foot better and take pressure off the metatarsal that is affected.

If the pain has been more long-standing and the bone has deteriorated, there are several different options for treatment. Most of these involve surgical techniques to remove the fragmented bone and clean up the joint surface. We can sometimes perform osteotomies (bone cuts) to try and realign the cartilage. Joint replacements for the metatarsal phalangeal joint can also be used to help alleviate pain.

If you are suffering for many foot and ankle pain, it is not normal and we are here to help. Call your expert Colorado Springs foot and ankle surgeons and podiatrist today at Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado. Dr. Hinderland, Dr. Cameron, and Dr. Dominick are all expertly trained to help keep you on your feet and keep you active.

Author
Dr. Matthew Hinderland Board Certified Podiatrist and Foot and Ankle Surgeon

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