What is Kohlers Disease (Arch Pain)?

Kohler Disease is a rare benign bone disorder, found in children between 4 and 9 years of age, which causes arch pain and discomfort.

This condition is caused from avascular necrosis (loss of blood supply) to the navicular bone, which is located in the midfoot and is usually self-limiting.

Due to the loss of blood supply, parts of the navicular bone can die, break or collapse, before healing and hardening. This condition is more prominent in boys but it can also affect girls.


Diagnosis of Kohler Disease (Arch Pain):

  • X-ray, where the navicular bone will present with patchy sclerosis (thinned) and is often present with soft tissue swelling.
  • CT and MRI, may be necessary if pain persists and the X-ray diagnosis is not clear.
  • Physical examination.

Kohlers Disease (Arch Pain) Snapshot

  • Rare benign bone disorder
  • Affects children between the age of 4-9 years old
  • Affects boys more than girls
  • Easily treatable with conservative treatment


Causes of Kohlers Disease (Arch Pain)

  • Loss of blood supply to navicular bone, which may be affected by weight bearing pressures and stresses caused by running, hopping, jumping, skipping.


Kohlers Disease (Arch Pain) Symptoms

  • Mild limping or walking on outside of foot to relieve pain.
  • Swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness in localised area of foot, which can range from a few days or be persistent for up to two years.
  • Palpable pain over the navicular bone.
  • Usually involves just one foot.


Treatment for Kohlers Disease (Arch Pain)

  • Rest and avoidance of excessive weight-bearing.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Most resolve with age and the affected navicular will regain its size, density and structure within a year or two as the area re-ossifies.
  • Children may require immobilisation in a removable boot to offload the area for 6-8 weeks.
  • Foot orthoses to support the midfoot and arch of the feet.
  • Serial plaster casting may be necessary for severe symptoms.
  • Surgery is not recommended in this condition.

Well Heeled Podiatry is experienced in dealing with arch pain and familiar with this type of condition. A thorough assessment will determine a diagnosis and appropriate treatment regime to relieve your child’s symptoms.

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