If you’ve been getting pains, aches, or the feeling that you’re constantly walking on a stone, then capsulitis could be the culprit. Capsulitis is a common condition we often see in those that spend a lot of time on the ball of their foot (like when bending down on one knee for work, doing a lot of heel raises at the gym, or wearing heeled shoes).
The pain is a result of injury to the joint capsule that surrounds the metatarsophalangeal joints at the ball of the foot. Let’s just call these ‘forefoot joints’ for simplicity. While all our joints are encapsulated, these specific joints take on a LOT of direct pressure about 10,000 times (steps!) a day – and more if you’re exercising. The joint capsule is made from ligaments that surround two bone ends and facilitate its movement.
The main symptom is forefoot pain, as well as:
- A feeling like you are walking on a hard pebble
- Callus formation beneath the joint at the ball of the foot
- Instability at the affected joint
- Altered/abnormal gait because of the pain
The three most common causes of capsulitis is repetitive impact/heavy loads, direct trauma, and poor footwear. Other factors that can contribute to the development of this injury include:
- Running sports
- Abnormal foot biomechanics (high arched or flat foot type, drop in the transverse arch)
- Foot deformities such as retracted toes, hammertoes and bunions
- Prolonged time on hard surfaces
- Footwear such as high heels
- Having a long second metatarsal bone (long bone of the foot) or a short first metatarsal
- Tight calf muscles
- Fat pad atrophy
If you’re reading this and haven’t yet sought professional treatment then start by:
- Resting the foot
- Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the top and bottom of the forefoot
- Using anti-inflammatories as directed
Once you get in to see your Podiatrist, they’ll tailor your care to your precise injury, the cause and your rehabilitative needs. This may include:
- Orthotics with a metatarsal pad
- Change in footwear where support and stability is lacking
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Activity modification
The Do Not’s
The last thing you want is to make the injury worse before it starts getting better. So don’t:
- Wear heels or tight, narrow footwear that places pressure on the ball of your foot
- Continue with high-impact sports until you’ve sought professional advice
- Continue any activity that causes forefoot pain
- Ignore it
What should you do?
You must seek professional help, ASAP. There’s a substantial risk for the injury to worsen if proper care is not taken. You also risk remaining in pain for much longer than necessary.
If you want to get rid of your pain and feel great on your feet again, give our expert team at Perform Podiatry a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.