Gardening can be a therapeutic activity, with all the fresh air, singing birds, and digging in the rich earth, not to mention the end result of delicious veggies and beautiful blooms. However, what’s good for the soul, isn’t necessarily good for your feet! Stooping and placing repetitive pressure on your forefoot can result in toe pain from a condition called capsulitis.

Joints Under Pressure

Capsulitis: Toes in Turmoil

Stress placed upon the joints in your feet can cause the surrounding connective tissues, or capsular ligaments, to become irritated and inflamed. These ligaments are what keep bones in alignment, so inflammation can result in a reduced range of motion and pain. Activities like gardening and climbing ladders, as well as occupations like electrical or plumbing work, can lead to an excessive amount of pressure on your toe joints while they bend, overstretching the ligaments and leading to a case of capsulitis.

Shoes Under Scrutiny

What you wear on your feet can also contribute to the condition. High heels, flimsy flip-flops, and ballerina shoes, for instance, can all cause your toes to bend excessively. Poor foot structure can also add to the problem. Continuing to wear these types of shoes, and not seeking measures to correct biomechanical issues, will only make the situation worse. Switch to supportive shoes with stiff soles and plenty of cushion. Orthotic inserts can also help by providing arch support and distributing weight away from the joints in your feet.

Pain Under Foot

If you are experiencing a nagging pain in the ball of your foot, or feel as though you have a marble or a bunched up sock in your shoe, you could have capsulitis. Other signs include swelling at the base of the toes, and pain when walking barefoot. Instability in the joint can eventually cause toes to drift and overlap. Accurate diagnosis is vital to treating the condition correctly, as symptoms are similar to another condition called Morton’s neuroma, which is treated very differently.

Recovery Underway

It’s best to treat capsulitis in its early stages, before toes start to drift. This is when conservative methods have their best chance of success in reducing symptoms, stabilizing the joints, and addressing any underlying problems contributing to the condition. Recovery starts with rest. Staying off of your feet will do wonders in relieving toe pain. Icing the affected area several times a day will also help to reduce swelling and discomfort. Stretching exercises help as well, as does splinting and taping toes into their correct position to prevent drifting. If treatment is delayed until toes start to become misaligned, they will not be able to return to their normal position without surgery.

Don’t let toe pain from capsulitis stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Call 210.375.3318 or fill our our online form to make an appointment with Dr. Darren Silvester of Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic. You can visit us at our location in Universal City or Pleasanton, TX, or follow us on Facebook to find out more ways to keep you and your feet active and healthy.