Rare Injuries: Trouble with Pain in the Second Toe

National Hobby Month, also known as January, has been a time to celebrate hobbies of all kinds. Hobbies vary as much as people do, from the common to the highly unusual. Stamp collecting, historical reenactments, and building model vehicles are all hobbies with avid enthusiasts, many of whom enjoy finding rare things. One rare thing active hobby-lovers should hope they don’t encounter is an uncommon source of pain in the second toe called Freiberg’s disease.

This condition is actually an injury to the second metatarsal head. It’s a fairly uncommon problem that can cause intense forefoot pain and even limping. It’s rarer than typical metatarsalgia, but certain people are prone to it. Since it can be progressively debilitating, knowing your own risk—and how to deal with it if it arises—can help you prevent the crippling problem and side effects.

People at any age can develop pain in the second toe from Freiberg’s disease, but teenagers going through a growth spurt are the most likely to develop it. Girls in particular have a high risk for this condition, outnumbering boys with the problem as many as five to one by some estimates. Having uneven metatarsal lengths that put pressure on the second digit contributes to the problem as well.

Knowing your risks, however, lets you protect yourself (and any teenage daughters) from developing a painful bone breakdown in your forefoot. To prevent Freiberg’s disease, you need to reduce the pressure on the second digit. Avoid shoes that shift your weight forward—like high heels—or otherwise fail to support your foot. Pads or custom orthotics may help.

Freiberg’s disease may be rarer than stamps or historical reenactments, but that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent! If you know your risks and how to avoid this type of pain in the second toe, you can protect yourself. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic help. Just call (830) 569-3338 to make an appointment at our Pleasanton, TX, office


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