Rare Foot Conditions

At Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida, there are some foot conditions we see on a more frequent basis than others. Given the wide array of potential issues that can develop in lower extremities, this is to be expected.

While our foot doctors might treat many cases of plantar fasciitis and ingrown toenails, we are also ready to help with cases of Kohler’s, Freiberg’s and Buerger’s diseases as well. Becoming familiar with these rare foot conditions will help you to know when to give us a call for the appropriate treatment at any of our five Florida offices.

Rare Foot Conditions

rare foot conditionsIf your child is suffering from swelling, pain, and tenderness, especially when it is to the point that he or she is limping, it is possible that he or she has a case of Kohler’s disease. This rare condition is most likely to be seen in boys between the ages of three and five and typically affects only one of the two feet.

Kohler’s is caused by avascular necrosis, which means that bone tissue has deteriorated due to an interrupted blood supply. Generally, cases are resolved within a couple years of initial diagnosis and do not lead to any long-term issues.

If your teenage son or daughter experiences forefoot pain that results from physical activity, even simply walking, the culprit might be a rare condition known as Freiberg’s disease.  In addition to pain, which is often vaguely located, there might also be limping and stiffness. This is a fairly mysterious ailment, as experts have not been able to come to a consensus about what causes it. What they do know is that it constitutes an interruption of the normal growth processes.

This condition most commonly affects the second metatarsal bone in young females between the ages 12 and 15, particularly those who tend to participate in athletic activities. Freiberg’s can also be seen in non-athletic males and females of any age, but that tends to be even rarer for this already-rare disease.

While the aforementioned rare diseases are most likely to affect children, Buerger’s disease is a condition that has a strong correlation with tobacco usage and is more likely to affect adults. In this particular disease, blood vessels have become swollen, inflamed, and potentially blocked by blood clots. This leads to pain in the patient’s feet or legs that can come and go, especially as physical activity is either started or stopped, respectively.

Other symptoms of the condition include painful open sores, toes that become pale when exposed to cold temperatures, and inflammation just below the surface of the skin, typically along a vein. Two of the prevailing factors for Buerger’s are tobacco use and chronic gum disease, with almost every known case of the disease linked to tobacco usage.

Treatment for Rare Foot Diseases

When Kohler’s disease is present, our doctors can often successfully treat it with the use of nonsurgical procedures. Rest, avoiding pressure, and pain relievers are often quite successful for alleviating any pain and swelling. Depending on the child’s particular case, we may use a cast and arch support as additional treatment methods.

Typically, Freiberg’s disease will resolve itself in time and simply requires conservative treatment methods to address any pain that accompanies it.  It can, however, cause damage to the joint surface resulting in an arthritic joint later in life.  In a distinct minority of cases, surgery may be recommended to address the condition.

Quitting the use of tobacco products is the most effective method of halting Buerger’s progress and a good starting point in treatment. Other options include medication, spinal cord stimulation, intermittent limb compression, and, in severe cases where gangrene has developed, amputation.

When it comes to effective foot care for any foot or ankle condition, even those that are rare, Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida is ready to help. Our knowledgeable podiatrists provide accurate diagnoses to ensure that the right treatment is used for you and your family.

Request your appointment with any of our five Florida offices—Orlando, Kissimmee, Tavares, Altamonte Springs, and Lake Mary—today by calling 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County), or complete our online form right now.