WHAT IS CAPSULITIS OF THE SECOND TOE?
Ligaments surrounding the joint at the base of the second toe form a capsule, which helps the joint to function properly. Capsulitis is a condition in which these ligaments have become inflamed. Although capsulitis can also occur in the joints of the third or fourth toes, it most commonly affects the second toe. This inflammation causes considerable discomfort and, if left untreated, can eventually lead to a weakening of surrounding ligaments that can cause dislocation of the toe.
It is generally believed that capsulitis of the second toe is a result of abnormal foot mechanics, where the ball of the foot beneath the toe joint takes an excessive amount of weightbearing pressure.
Certain conditions or characteristics can make a person prone to experiencing excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. These most commonly include a severe bunion deformity, a second toe longer than the big toe, an arch that is structurally unstable and a tight calf muscle.
The best time to treat capsulitis of the second toe is during the early stages, before the toe starts to drift toward the big toe. At that time, nonsurgical approaches can be used to stabilize the joint, reduce the symptoms and address the underlying cause of the condition. The foot and ankle surgeon may select one or more of the following options for early treatment of capsulitis: rest and ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, taping/splinting of the toe, stretching, shoe modifications, and padding/orthotics. Once the second toe starts moving toward the big toe, it will never go back to its normal position unless surgery is performed.