Capsulitis, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes decreased movement of a joint. This can affect any joint in the body and in the lower extremity is seen commonly at the ankle joint and first metatarsal-phalangeal joint areas.

Symptoms of capsulitis usually includes a decreased range of motion in one foot or ankle joint compared to the opposite side. This motion can be very painful at times. Capsulitis usually is progressive and getting worse if not treated.

The cause of capsulitis usually starts with an injury to the joint producing inflammation (swelling). The inflammation in the joint causes thrombin and fibrinogen to form a protein called fibrin. This fibrin protein causes clotting when in the blood, and forms a sticky substance when in the joint. The sticky substance causes the tissue to stick to each other and prevents the full range of motion.

Podiatric Care may include using anti-inflammatory oral medications or an injection of medication and local anesthetic to reduce the swelling in the joint. An injection may be used for both diagnosis and for treatment. When you go to your doctor, x-rays are usually required to evaluate the structure of your foot and ankle to ensure no other problems exist in this area. They may advise you on different shoewear or prescribe a custom made orthotics. Physical therapy can be very beneficial for range of motion techniques as well as reducing inflammation in the joint area.

Surgery is rarely done strictly for treatment of a capsulitis. Although if symptoms persist after conservative care a surgical procedure addressing the joint can be beneficial in some circumstances. If any underlying cause is the reason, this may be addressed surgically.