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Foot Ankle Spec. 2015 Dec;8(6):498-519. doi: 10.1177/1938640015585966. Epub 2015 May 19.

Surgical Management of Freiberg's Infraction: A Systematic Review.


Avascular necrosis of the second metatarsal head was first described by Freiberg in 1913. Conservative treatment includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, reduced activity, padding, orthotics, and immobilization. Should conservative treatment fail, a wide variety of surgical procedures exist; however, the optimal procedure is unknown. This systematic review was undertaken to determine which surgical procedure allows for the best resolution of symptoms and return to activity. Included studies were restricted to articles published in English language peer-reviewed journals that consecutively enrolled patients of all ages, with Freiberg's infraction of any stage, who underwent operative treatment, and had a mean follow-up of greater than or equal to 12 months duration. Eighty-five publications were identified, of which 38 (44.7%) met all the inclusion criteria. Surgical techniques and outcomes were grouped into joint sparing and joint destructive procedures. A total of 70 joint destructive procedures were performed with a combined mean follow-up time of 15.0 months. A greater than 70% resolution of pain and full return to activity was reported. A total of 257 joint sparing procedures were performed with a combined mean follow-up of 30.4 months. A greater than 90% resolution of pain and full return to activity was reported. Results of this systematic review reveal that the results of joint sparing procedures are reported more often and appear to have a better prognosis for symptom resolution and return to activity. Smillie stage was not consistently reported, making it difficult to determine its effect on procedure selection.


Therapeutic, Level IV: Systematic review of Level IV studies.


adolescent foot problems; arthrodiatasis; lesser ray deformities

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