Metatarsophalangeal Joint Synovitis
The metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) is located in the forefoot where the metatarsal and phalanx bones meet. Synovitis is a swelling of the joint lining. MTP synovitis is a common disorder caused by excessive stress on that joint, usually exacerbated by activity. The ligaments loosen and the joint may develop instability. People with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of developing MTP synovitis.
MTP synovitis causes pain in the forefoot and sometimes results in an overlapping of the toes. There is often a swelling on the top of the foot near the toes. Patients may experience difficulty walking and wearing shoes as the foot becomes more and more inflamed. The disorder is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history, although at times an X-ray or diagnostic imaging test such as an ultrasound or MRI is necessary.
Treatment of MTP synovitis may vary depending on the severity of the condition, but aims to relieve pain and restore the normal appearance and alignment of the foot. Conservative treatments may include modifying your shoes, wearing orthotics, injections of cortisone or taping the toes in a fixed position. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended. Surgical options for this condition usually involve an osteotomy or synovectomy.