5 Rare Foot Conditions You Shouldn't Ignore

June 21, 2023 4:39 pm Published by

While common ailments like sprained ankles are important to address with your podiatrist, uncommon conditions should never be ignored when symptoms are present. Here are the top five rare foot conditions to be aware of so you can put your foot down with confidence.

5 Rare Foot Conditions & Their Symptoms

1. Kohler’s Disease

Kohler’s Disease is a rare bone disorder that only affects children, occurring when the navicular bone in the top of the foot loses blood supply. Although the exact cause is unknown, it may be from stress-related compression as a child’s bones grow and mature.


Symptoms of Kohler’s Disease include:

  • Limping from only one affected foot.
  • Swelling in the affected foot.
  • Occurs in children from 3 to 7 years of age.

In nearly all cases, children grow out of Kohler’s Disease within two years. If you have young children with similar symptoms, it’s important to see a podiatrist. In this case, this is a positive prognosis as it means your child does not have a long-lasting condition. 

2. Freiberg Disease

Freiberg Disease (Freiberg infraction) is another rare foot disease that flattens the joints in your toes and progresses to arthritis. Freiberg Disease most commonly affects teenage girls during a growth spurt, but can also present in people who have suffered from a variety of factors including trauma, diabetes, blood clots, or other vascular compromise.


Symptoms of Freiberg Disease include:

  • Localized pain and swelling (gradually occurs).
  • Feeling like you’re walking on a hard surface, such as stone.
  • Pain that is worse when walking or wearing heels.
  • Elevation in the affected toe.
  • Little to no range of motion in the afflicted toe.

Identifying Freiberg Disease early on can help reduce pain and other symptoms. In most cases, there are both surgical and non-surgical options to treat this disease.

3. Buerger’s Disease

Detected in the arms and legs, Buerger’s Disease affects blood vessels in the body. These vessels swell and can prevent blood flow. In severe cases, tissue damage and the decay of body tissues can occur. Although the cause of this disease is unknown, there is a link between it and tobacco use.


Symptoms of Buerger’s Disease include:

  • Pale/red/bluish toes.
  • Cold hands or feet.
  • Burning or tingling in hands and feet.
  • Small, painful sores on fingers or toes.

Although there is no cure, staying away from all tobacco products can prevent the disease from getting worse. Some treatments can help control symptoms and make the patient feel more comfortable.

4. Charcot’s Foot

Charcot’s Foot is a progressive condition that weakens bones, joints, and soft tissues in the foot. It’s a rare complication of diabetes, and is thought to be caused by microtraumas the patient may not even be fully aware of.


Symptoms of Charcot’s foot include:

  • One foot is warmer than the other.
  • Redness.
  • Swelling.
  • Pain or soreness.
  • Floppy foot. 
  • Hammertoe and other foot deformities.

Of all the rare foot conditions, Charcot’s Foot can be one of the most difficult to identify. This is because if a patient has diabetes, they may not feel the symptoms in their feet unless they are doing daily foot checks. Additionally, some symptoms, such as swelling and redness, are common symptoms for other complications associated with diabetes. 

5. Foot Dystonia

Foot dystonia is a neurological condition that can cause abnormal repetitive movements in the foot. This condition occurs in only 50% of people with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), but can also occur with Parkinson’s disease.


Symptoms of foot dystonia include:

  • Muscle spasms in the ankle, foot, or toes.
  • Curled, clenched toes.
  • Cramped foot.

Since foot dystonia is a warning sign for serious conditions, it’s best to see your podiatrist should you have these symptoms. 

Identify Rare Foot Conditions Early

Although rare, symptoms of these foot problems should never be ignored. If you suspect you or a family member may have a rare foot condition, it’s best to see a podiatrist to get answers and treatment options. Your feet will thank you! Schedule an appointment with Foot & Ankle Group today.

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