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Family Foot & Ankle

Treating Second Toe Capsulitis

Don't let your second toe cause problems!Sometimes it’s hard being #2. If your second toe wasn’t already jealous of its neighbor—the “first,” “big,” or “great” toe—it will be even more so if it develops capsulitis. This painful joint condition commonly affects the second toe and is caused by inflammation and damage to the “capsule” of ligaments supporting the bones at the toe’s base. Over time, the second toe may even begin, in an envious rage, to drift out of place and cross over the first toe due to progressive weakening of the ligaments.

If the toe hasn’t started to shift toward its big brother yet, good news! Conservative treatments could be all you need to halt the toe pain and keep your second digit in line. For some, the only prescription may be a sturdy, comfortable, supportive pair of shoes with a firm sole. These will minimize painful motion and keep pressure away from your damaged ligaments.

If your toe needs a little extra encouragement to stay in place, taping or using splints can often do the trick. Not only will this help maintain proper alignment of the toes, but it also can reduce pain and swelling.

When repetitive trauma or foot deformities are to blame for your discomfort, custom orthotics or additional metatarsal padding can absorb those excess impacts and prevent further damage to the joint capsule. Since the cause of capsulitis can usually be traced to repetitive stress focused on the ball of the foot, inserts that help deflect pressure away from those areas can correct the underlying cause before it has time to do enough damage.

Unfortunately, if your toe HAS started to shift toward, or even crossed over, your big toe, surgery is the only permanent correction. Although usually highly successful, all operations carry risks and involve a recovery period. If surgery is what you need, your doctor will select an appropriate procedure after fully examining your condition and considering your needs and desired lifestyle.

Because the condition is progressive—that means it won’t get better without treatment—don’t delay when capsulitis toe pain strikes. Call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 today.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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