Your Uncomfortable Toe Joints
Aching joints are a literal pain. Using them is uncomfortable and difficult. Pain in your toe or other foot joints makes every step a challenge. Your mobility is impaired and you start to lose your independence, but this doesn’t have to happen. When your discomfort is caused by something like capsulitis, the pain goes away when the problem is resolved.
What Is Capsulitis?
Ligaments are the flexible connecting tissues that hold your bones together. They form “capsules” around the ends of your bones at the joints. When these capsules become inflamed, the area hurts. This commonly occurs in the ball of the foot or in the toe joints, especially the second toe—areas that receive a lot of pressure—though other places can also develop it.
It’s a condition frequently caused by overuse from bad shoes or pre-existing problems in your feet that direct abnormal amounts of pressure to the affected joint. Footwear that doesn’t support your arch or puts stress on your toes, like high heels, is particularly bad. Conditions such as fallen arches or bunions can also add unnatural pressure because the foot is out of alignment. However you develop it, the result is the same--discomfort. Sometimes swelling in the affected joint accompanies the pain. You may have trouble wearing shoes or going barefoot.
How Do I Treat It?
Conservative, noninvasive treatment is best when capsulitis has been caught early. Dr. Robert Parker will examine your foot and possibly move the affected joints around to test them. Frequently imaging technology is used for a more accurate look at the bones and what is happening on the inside of your foot. Once the doctor has an accurate diagnosis, he can work with you to develop a treatment plan. Lowering inflammation, often through rest and ice, is important for reducing pain. Anti-inflammatory pain-killers, like ibuprofen and aspirin, may also help if recommended.
The affected joint may need to be immobilized while it heals. Changing your shoes or adding custom orthotics to adjust the pressure placed on the area may also help significantly. If pain is still a problem, steroid injections might be an option. Surgery is available, but generally reserved for stubborn cases that aren’t responding to conservative treatments.
Can I Prevent This?
Since this condition is related to wear and tear from bad shoes or other foot conditions, you could potentially avoid it altogether. Wearing good, supportive footwear that accommodates your individual foot needs is one of the most effective preventative tools. Prescription orthotics that add cushioning and support are also valuable. The key is knowing your feet and how you step. If you’re aware of a potential or existing support problem, treating it can go a long way in preventing capsulitis!
Inflammation of your joint capsule doesn’t have to hold you back. You can easily prevent it, or treat it if pain has already presented itself. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem and risk it getting worse. Early diagnosis and treatment means a better chance for success. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information by reaching us online or by calling our Houston office at (281) 497-2850.