Dr. Brandon Nelson, A Board Certified Physician, Discusses Capsulitis of the Second Toe

Dr. Brandon Nelson, A Board Certified Physician, Discusses Capsulitis of the Second Toe

Capsulitis is an inflammation of a capsule or joint. Your joints are defined by where two bones come together and have cartilage on the opposing surfaces and a joint sac (capsule) that encircles the two ends of those bones. Additionally in the joint capsule is fluid which helps the joint to glide smoothly.

The human body has many joints, the human foot has the highest concentration of joints with 33. The foot is an extremely complex structure and small deviations in the alignment can cause significant problems.

Capsulitis can have many causes, one of the most common is abnormal wear of a joint. Abnormal wear of a joint is usually attributed to increase pressures in that joint and can ultimately lead to arthritis. In the foot instability of the big toe can increase pressure in the 2nd toe leading to inflammation of that joint, the 2nd metatarsal phalangeal joint or MTPJ. What is typically seen is a patient with a bunion or a flat foot that causes results in high pressures of the 2nd MTPJ and the net result is pain. The pain can present with swelling, numbness or tingling. The eventual progression of this can lead to dislocation of the toe or what we call a cross over toe.

If you have pain around the second toe, icing and stretching can be very helpful. However it is important to have your foot evaluated as this is usually a progressive deformity that can cause increasing discomfort and eventual structural changes. I recommend an x-ray and an overall foot exam. Often times there are great conservative options to help this condition and help patients return back to activities. If you have 2nd MTPJ pain give us a call at 425-391-8666 or make an appointment online today. 

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