Three rare foot diseases to know

Mise à jour le 25 March 2023

Three rare foot diseases to know

Rare diseases impact fewer than one in every two thousand persons. Here are three that are particular to the foot and for which there are treatments:

– Algodystrophy, or complex regional pain syndrome;

– Tarsal coalition;

– Bessel-Hagen disease, or multiple exostosis.

Algodystrophy, a rare joint disease

Algodystrophy is a rare disease that affects the limbs, namely the arms, hands, legs, and feet. This disease, also known as complex regional pain syndrome, affects the majority of adults and usually begins after a trauma or injury, with or without a nervous system impact. The disease can continue for months before disappearing as quickly as it began.

There are several stages of algodystrophy. The pain starts as a stabbing sensation in the affected part of the foot, making mobility difficult. The afflicted region’s skin becomes irritated, and the uncomfortable area swells. This is the early warm acute stage, in which the discomfort is persistent and accompanied by a burning feeling.

The warm stage is followed by the cold stage. The skin becomes smoother, the signs of swelling go away, and the hot feeling is replaced with a chilly sensation.

To prevent the danger of this condition, it is important to begin the rehabilitation programs advised by the podiatrist as soon as possible. The sooner the injured region is treated, the higher the prospects of swiftly regaining a healthy foot. Foot orthoses can also aid in the restoration of balance and stability to the feet and lower limbs. Orthotics, when used in conjunction with the exercises advised by your podiatrist, will prevent stiffness and abnormal alignment from settling in the foot, lowering the risk of further complications.

Tarsal coalition

Another rare foot condition is tarsal coalition, which is characterized by a hard or partially rigid connection between two bones where there should have been soft tissue or a gap that would have allowed the joint to move. People who have this uncommon foot condition are born with it, but the pain and discomfort may not show up until later in life.

The foot becomes stiffer, making it more susceptible to damage and sprains. Because the affected region is less mobile, the surrounding joints exert more strain on the foot to compensate, which can cause early wear and tear and osteoarthritis. Patients with tarsal coalition have similar symptoms in both feet in half of the cases.

Medical imaging can reveal tarsal coalition, and your podiatrist can recommend therapy to help you manage the condition. Wearing orthopedic shoes; using foot orthotics; taking medication; or, in certain situations, surgery are all options that are available to you.

Bessel-Hagen disease

Bessel-Hagen disease, commonly known as osteochondromas or multiple exostoses of the foot, is a hereditary genetic disease. It is a benign tumor that is characterized by a bony development. This rare condition affects the bones of the foot, as well as the knee and the rest of the body. Bessel-Hagen disease is part of the foot exostosis family, which is divided into solitary exostosis and subungual exostosis.

Solitary exostosis is an uncommon illness that may go unnoticed by the patient since it is painless and causes no discomfort.

Subungual exostosis commonly develops after a toe is injured or fractured. Finally, multiple exostoses are an inherited genetic disease.

Multiple exostoses can be visible because they produce deformities in the affected limbs. They become uncomfortable when a tumor compresses nerves or obstructs movement when a muscle or tendon is pinched.

Wearing foot orthoses, on the other hand, can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of this foot condition as well as counterbalance its effects on lower limb alignment. It is possible to continue with a surgical intervention with a specialist in the case of multiple exostoses that are painful and whose volume seriously impairs the mobility of the foot.

How can you diagnose a rare foot disease?

Some rare foot diseases show no symptoms at all. Your podiatrist can undertake an examination to establish the source and proper therapy if you are having pain in your feet that you are unable to identify or relieve. Please do not hesitate to contact FootNetwork’s foot health experts for a diagnostic.

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