A Hiking Trip Gone Bad: Stress Fractures and Capsulitis
On a hiking trip, one of my patients started to develop pain and swelling just behind her second and third toes on her left foot. Without any previous traumas to the foot, she wasn’t sure what was causing the pain, which quickly put her hiking trip to an early end. When she came in for an evaluation, we discussed the two possible causes of her pain.
With no known trauma to the foot, the most likely diagnoses would be a stress fracture or capsulitis. Both of these conditions can occur without the patient’s knowledge, especially with increased activity levels. Stress fractures are managed quite easily with immobilization and will generally heal in a few weeks. Capsulitis is inflammation of the ligament and soft tissues surrounding a joint and will respond readily to immobilization and anti-inflammatories.
We were able to successfully treat my patient’s foot, concluding that she was suffering from capsulitis due to her frequent hiking trips and overuse of the ligaments in the affected toes. With some rest and anti-inflammatories, she was feeling better within a few days. If you’re active, don’t ignore foot pain! It could mean a variety of things, but stress fractures and capsulitis require proper diagnosis, rest and appropriate oral medication. Give us a call or request an appointment.
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