Toe Capsulitis: Frequently Asked Questions
Otherwise known as metatarsalgia, capsulitis is a common condition that generally impacts the second toe. This can be an excruciating condition that can make it difficult for you to enjoy your everyday life, from walking to driving or even relaxing at your work desk. If you were recently diagnosed with capsulitis or you are experiencing chronic toe pain, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about capsulitis.
What Exactly Is Capsulitis?
Otherwise known as "pre-dislocation syndrome," capsulitis typically occurs on the second toe because this toe bears much of the weight of walking, running, and standing when the tissue surrounding the toe becomes irritated and inflamed, specifically where the toe meets the ball of the foot.
Everyone is susceptible to capsulitis, especially if they walk, run, or stand for several hours throughout the day. However, people with bunions, flat feet, or who have a second toe much longer than the first are particularly susceptible to developing capsulitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Capsulitis?
There are several symptoms associated with toe capsulitis, including:
- Pain, especially when going barefoot
- Issues with finding comfortable shoes
- Swelling around the affected toe
Often, people with capsulitis will feel the sensation of having something stuck under their impacted toe. Unfortunately, the symptoms of capsulitis can be mild at first, but they can worsen if left untreated.
How Will My Doctor Diagnose and Treat Capsulitis?
If you suspect you have capsulitis, visit your doctor or a podiatrist immediately. In addition to asking about your symptoms and performing a physical examination, your doctor might utilize an MRI or x-ray to make a conclusive diagnosis.
If your doctor catches capsulitis early enough, several noninvasive treatments are available. For example, during the early stages of capsulitis, it is possible to treat the pain and inflammation with rest, icing the affected toe, elevating the foot, and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory.
Choosing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and purchasing orthotics can also help relieve some of the pressure that can make capsulitis worse. The doctor may also recommend taping the second toe to the big toe to prevent it from twisting.
Unfortunately, surgery might be warranted if capsulitis symptoms are severe. Typically, if the pain is very severe and the toe has become deformed, your doctor can recommend a surgeon that can help relieve the pressure and straighten the toe.
Capsulitis of the toe is a common problem that can be treated if it is caught early. Contact a foot care professional with any further questions.