Many buildings, bridges, and other structures have cables and support beams to keep them stable. Strong supporters are important—they make structures even sturdier. Your body has supporting structures for your own “building,” too. Ligaments hold your bones together and make standing up possible. However, ligament issues like capsulitis can compromise your stability.
Weakening the Connectors
Capsulitis is the inflammation and weakness of a joint capsule. Where your bones form moving joints, there is a soft-tissue capsule helping hold the bones together. This sheath of ligaments allows bones like your toes to move smoothly while still staying attached. Under abnormal pressure and weight, the ligaments become aggravated and weak. This is most common at the base of the second toe in the ball of the foot, though the third and fourth digits can also be affected.
Poor foot mechanics and preexisting conditions are the main culprits for this toe issue. Anything that directs abnormal, excessive pressure to the ball of the foot can play a role, including footwear like high heels. Fallen arches that cause overpronation are a common contributor. Severe bunions, tight calf muscles, and a second toe that is longer than the first are a few others. The condition is an overuse injury, so the symptoms develop slowly over time. It’s a progressive problem, too, so it will get worse unless it is treated.