By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
June 14, 2016
Tags: capsulitis  

A condition that we see at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care that patients are often unfamiliar with is Capsulitis. Below are some questions and answers about this condition:

What is Capsulitis? It is an inflammation of the ligaments that surround or “encapsulate” the joint at the base of a toe. It occurs most often in the second toe but can happen in the third or fourth toe.

What causes it? Capsulitis happens because of a defect in the mechanics of the foot which results in excessive pressure being put on the ball of the foot with normal weight-bearing. Patients who have a severe bunion deformity, weak arches, tight calf muscles or a second toe that is longer than the big toe are all more prone to developing Capsulitis. Capsulitis can also be caused by an injury or trauma to the foot and is aggravated by wearing poorly fitting shoes and doing activities that require the bending of the toes such as gardening or ladder climbing.

What are the symptoms of Capsulitis? Pain in the bottom forefoot is the most common symptom of Capsulitis. Some patients say it feels like they are walking on a marble or that there is a pebble in their shoe. You may also see swelling at the base of the toe. In the last stages of the disorder, the affected toe may drift or actually cross over the next toe. This is why Capsulitis is sometimes called pre-dislocation syndrome. The symptoms of Capsulitis are similar to some other conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma, and require the diagnosis of one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah.

Can Capsulitis go away without treatment? No. It is a progressive medical problem that will only get worse.

How is Capsulitis treated? There are several possible methods of treatment that the foot doctor may use. If you have Capsulitis, you will need to rest the affected foot and refrain from activities that involve bending your toes. The podiatrist may recommend icing and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and swelling. Taping or splinting the toe can correct its position and custom orthotic devices can be used to help shift weight away from the inflamed area. Stretching exercises may also be recommended.

What should I do if I have symptoms of Capsulitis? Contact our Monroe, Edison or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment. Our professional staff will be able to provide a prompt diagnosis and the right treatment plan for you.