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Know the Difference: Capsulitis, Bursitis, and Morton’s Neuroma

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Inspect your feetWith just one look, it’s easy to distinguish between the Crocker Art Museum and the Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento. Even though they’re both art museums, they have a unique location and building that helps you differentiate. If only it were that easy to diagnosis capsulitis/bursitis versus Morton’s neuroma. However, with a little help from our expert podiatrists, you will be able to pinpoint whether you have capsulitis symptoms or signs of Morton’s neuroma.   

These conditions, while quite different, are often misdiagnosed. The reason? They’re both around the same area.

Capsulitis is the inflammation of the capsular ligaments that surround the joint adjoining your toe bones with the foot bones. The pain occurs when you excessively bend them during activities like crouching.

Bursitis is the inflammation of just one of the hundreds of bursal sacs in your body that help your muscles and tendons slide smoothly over your bones. Both of these conditions happen on the big or second toes.  

Morton’s neuroma is a growth of nerve tissue between the third and fourth toes and sometimes neuromas arise between the second and third toes. It’s usually caused by a tight shoe or foot deformity.  

You might have capsulitis or bursitis if your second toe is elevated, has a hammertoe shape (a curled toe), or it actually crosses over the other toes. When you have one of these conditions, any movement of the second toe joint will create pain. It might hurt a lot when you bend your toes and sometimes may even be stiff and difficult to move (this might be a sign of arthritis).

Neuromas will not be painful when you move the toe joint. You might feel a click in the space between your third and fourth toes or the second and third. That space may also exhibit pain or numbness when you touch it. Morton’s neuroma will be more painful around the third and fourth toes and sometimes between the second and third.

We are experts at diagnosing nerve pain, which means we can also distinguish between nerve and non-nerve related conditions. To figure out what causing the pain near the ball of your foot, make an appointment with the McDowell Podiatry Group in Carmichael, CA, at (916) 961-3434.

Photo credit: iMageryMajestic via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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