A Foot to Stand On

The Symptoms You Might Experience With Foot Synovitis And Treatments That Could Help

by Grace Ortiz

Synovitis is a painful foot condition that gets worse with activity, so it can interfere with your daily life. Synovitis can affect athletes due to trauma or overuse, and it can affect others due to a medical condition, such as arthritis or a foot abnormality. Here are some symptoms of synovitis and treatments that might be given by a podiatrist.

Synovitis Symptoms

Synovitis is a condition where the synovial membrane creates too much fluid and becomes inflamed. The membrane normally creates synovial fluid to lubricate the joint the membrane surrounds and protects. But trauma, overuse, or a medical condition can cause the joints to become irritated, and that can trigger synovitis.

As more fluid enters the joint, the swelling and pain get worse. Pain with activity may be your first symptom, and if you don't seek treatment, the pain may become constant even at rest. There may be noticeable swelling, heat, and redness near the joint. A common place for this condition to affect your foot is at the base of a toe near the ball of your foot. This can create a sensation like you have a rock in your shoe that's creating pain.

Synovitis Treatments

If you think you have the symptoms of synovitis, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis. The podiatrist may run tests to rule out other problems, such as a toe fracture. Early treatment for synovitis is important so the condition doesn't advance to the point where surgery might be needed and where your pain is constant.

Synovitis can often be treated with rest and medications. Keeping pressure off the joint allows it to heal, so you may be instructed to keep your foot elevated as much as possible and use a soft walking boot or crutches when you need to walk. Your podiatrist might recommend taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and help with the pain. They might give you a corticosteroid injection in the joint to help with inflammation.

Your podiatrist might also give you shoe orthotics that distribute your weight when you walk so the pressure is relieved from the joint. The podiatrist might also recommend a certain type of shoe to wear once you're ready to begin your normal activities so the joint can continue to heal and not be irritated by footwear.

Your podiatrist may also consider the underlying cause of your condition. A foot problem, such as flat feet, might contribute to synovitis, and in that case, the podiatrist might offer advice on orthotics and shoes to wear when you're running to protect your feet. Whether you are an athlete or not, you may need orthotics if you have a gait problem or foot abnormality so you can prevent the return of swelling and pain in your foot.