Sunday, March 3, 2024

How To Treat Arthritis Pain In Toes

Interventional Treatments For Arthritis

Treatment for Big Toe Arthritis – Dr. Clifford Jeng – Mercy

Once youve made changes to your lifestyle, and have incorporated different stretching exercises into your routine, it may be time to talk to your doctor about additional treatments. First-line treatments should always focus on exercise, weight loss, and dietary changes.

After, you may consider these three interventional strategies:

  • Taking medications, such as ibuprofen or topical creams, during pain flare-ups
  • Receiving cortisone injections to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation
  • Getting surgery

Medications and creams can provide short-term relief during acute flare-ups of pain. Joint injections and surgery are longer-term solutions that should only be considered after other strategies have been tried.

Get Foot Pain Relief With Arthritis

Need some foot pain relief? If you are older than 60, you may find yourself saying Oh, my aching feet! often. According to the Arthritis Foundation, close to half of people in their sixties and seventies suffer from arthritis foot pain. In fact, the damage starts even sooner: Beginning in your forties, your feet begin to show wear and tear, explains Dennis Frisch, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Boca Raton, Florida.

Arthritis is inflammation in or around the joints that results in swelling, pain, and stiffness. It can generally be divided in two categories:

  • Osteoarthritis and other wear-and-tear types of arthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, affects millions of people worldwide. This type of arthritis occurs over time and by overuse. The cartilage between the bones at your pivotal joints wears away. As a result, your bones grind against each other, causing pain and swelling. Very often osteoarthritis also causes degeneration of the cartilage at the base of your big toe, resulting in big toe joint pain. Bony spurs then develop at the joint there, followed by pain in the big toe and decreased motion of the joint.

Arthritis in the feet causes pain and a loss of strength, flexibility, or exercise ability. For millions of people with arthritis in the feet, simple daily tasks such as walking out to get the mail can be painful. Eventually, walking may become nearly impossible.

Modified Capsular Interpositional Arthroplasty Technique

Dr Ozcan has been pioneering a modified version of the capsular interpositional arthroplasty technique. This technique involves a combination of arthroplasty and cheilectomy with a tissue graft harvested from the patient’s own body. It is done as a day case under general anaesthesia and the patient gains immediate function after the surgery. The patient is capable of immediate weight-bearing in surgical sandals for 3 weeks, followed by a further 3 weeks in sport shoes. This technique has been highly successful instead of the arthrodesis, and patients are back to their own choice of foot wear without any limitations.

  • Modified capsular interpositional arthroplasty surgery
  • Modified capsular interpositional arthroplasty surgery

Fused joints: There are times when patients have had joint arthrodeses at the big toe joint and now may be suffering from the ill effects of this procedure. The ill effects involve joint degeneration and deformation at the nearby joints, poor gait function and pain all over the foot. Dr Ozcan uses the modified capsular arthroplasty technique to reverse the arthrodesis at these joints. He basically unfuses a fused joint without the use of any pins, screws or plates.

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Lifestyle Changes For Foot Arthritis

A few changes to your daily life can help you feel better and may keep your arthritis from getting worse.

  • If a certain activity triggers a flare-up of symptoms, try to keep it to a minimum.
  • Instead of high-impact exercises like jogging, do low-impact ones like swimming or cycling.
  • Keep a healthy weight so your joints arenât under as much stress.

Show Sources

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases : “What Is Osteoarthritis?” and “Hand Out on Health: Osteoarthritis.”

National Institute on Aging: “Age Page: Arthritis Advice.”

American Podiatric Medical Association: âArthritis.â

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: âArthritis of the Foot and Ankle.â

Arthritis Foundation: âWhen Foot Pain May Mean Arthritis,â âPsoriatic Arthritis.â

Mayo Clinic: âArthritis.â

Implantation Of Artificial Tissue As A Placeholder

Arthritis in Feet Pain Relief Get Foot Pain Relief With ...

If your arthritis is already advanced and you want to preserve mobility in your joint, we can insert artificial tissue as a placeholder. Partially elastic materials have been proven to prevent bones rubbing against one another. However, there is still no conclusive evidence of whether ankylosis can be permanently prevented in any patient. The placeholder will still function well over the first five years. Furthermore, no new joint is implanted through this procedure. Typically, there will still be reduced mobility, and the joint will often be somewhat thicker than the healthy joint on the other side.

Also Check: What Really Causes Arthritis

Three Ways To Treat Big Toe Pain

Big toe pain caused by RA or gout should be treated by a rheumatologist. A podiatrist can help you find treatments for foot pain resulting from a variety of other causes.

  • Shoes: Wear supportive shoes with thick soles and a wide toe box that takes pressure off the big toe. Ditch your high heels. Use arch supports or orthotics. Pad bunions, corns, and calluses to prevent rubbing.
  • Pain killers: Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen . Your physician may suggest prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
  • Ice:Apply a cold pack for 20 minutes to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Warm footbaths can also soothe achy joints.

If conservative options fail, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid that is injected directly into the joint to reduce inflammation. Surgical alternatives may also be considered.

Are There Any Complications

Osteoarthritis can sometimes cause other problems for your feet, which may get worse if the condition isnt treated.

Hallux rigidus

If osteoarthritis in the feet is left untreated, cartilage can wear away completely. This might cause the bones of your foot to join together. When this happens in the big toe, its known as hallux rigidus.

This can make it more difficult to move your big toe and you may have trouble walking. Sometimes bony growths may appear on the top of your toe.


Hallux rigidus and osteoarthritis in your big toe can cause this toe to lean towards your other toes. When this happens, its called a bunion or hallux valgus.

A bony lump can then form on the side of your big toe. Sometimes you might have red or swollen skin over it, and it can also cause hard skin. You might feel unsteady while standing and walking.

Corns and calluses

Corns and calluses can form on your feet in areas where theyre exposed to pressure, or the skin is repeatedly rubbed. This might be because of uncomfortable shoes. Corns are small, hard lumps of skin, and calluses are patches of thicker skin that feel rough.

Corns and calluses can sometimes be caused by other problems with your feet, such as bunions.

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How Is It Treated

Lifestyle changes

Gout can be treated by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Drinking more water, eating fewer rich foods, and exercising more can help reduce the symptoms of the condition.

Exercise programmes can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.


Orthotics have been shown to reduce the symptoms of mid-foot Arthritis. One study found that, in patients with mid-foot Arthritis, using full length inserts for 4 weeks can relieve the pressure on the mid-foot by 20%. Patients also reported that overall foot function improved by an average of 12% .

Orthotics have also been found to help reduce effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kavlak and colleagues found that using orthotics for three months reduced pain, increased step and stride length and decreased energy expenditure for those with Rheumatoid Foot Arthritis . Additionally, soft orthotics, which provide increased cushioning, have been found to significantly reduce the foot pain in patients in Rheumatoid Arthritis and patients with Metatarsalgia when used over a one-month period .



Ankle fusion involves removing the joint and connecting the shin bone to the talus . All movement in the ankle is lost but provides pain relief. Total ankle arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery is a more recent innovation for ankle Arthritis. Al higher number of joint replacements are being performed, but fusion remains the gold standard for advanced Arthritis of the ankle.

Second Toe Stress Fracture

How to Ease Arthritis Foot Pain | WebMD

Similar to Friebergs disease, a stress fracture leads to bone fatigue, swelling, and breakdown. However, the site of the stress fracture is usually in the shaft rather than the head.

Generally, symptoms consist of gradually worsening pain with impact activity. There may be swelling in the bone.

Overall, MRI is the investigation of choice. X-ray or ultrasound may also detect stress fracture changes although they may miss some cases.

Treatment consists of rest from running in a walking boot followed by a graded return to running slowly over a few months. However, for stress fractures higher up in the foot , recovery can take much longer.

Read Also: What Does A High Rheumatoid Factor Mean

More On Injections For Second Toe Pain

Generally, cortisone injections are only used for certain conditions after failed simple treatment. These conditions include second toe arthritis and Mortons neuroma. Overall, you should be aware of the potential benefits and side effects of a cortisone injection. Also, injecting under ultrasound improves accuracy and effectiveness and reduces chances of damage to other structures.

Hallux Rigidus: Treatment With Surgery

Various surgeries are available to preserve your joint. These include arthroscopy of your joint, removing painful bony overgrowths and correcting displacements . We can preserve the mobility of your joint using these procedures, but we cannot remedy arthritis. Therefore, even with surgery, it may be necessary to replace the surface of the joint with artificial tissue, perform ankylosis or artificially replace the joint at some point. With corrective osteotomy and cheilectomy, your joint may be fused or artificially replaced at any point in the future.

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Symptoms Of Toe Arthritis

Arthritis symptoms may come and go or be persistent and debilitating. You may wake up one morning with pain and swelling in one or more toes, or you may notice a gradual progression of mild achiness to increasing discomfort and changes in the appearance of your toes over time.

Your symptoms also will depend in part on the type or cause of your toe arthritis, but typically you will experience:

Physical Therapy For Arthritis In Toes

How Arthritis Strikes Your Feet, and 11 Ways to Heal Your ...

Your doctor may send you for physical therapy to help improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your foot. Physical therapy can increase pain-free range of motion and strengthen the muscles of the foot to take pressure off the painful joint, says David Geier, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist, and author of Thats Gotta Hurt: The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever. These exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion.

Read Also: Coping With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Stretch Your Achilles Tendons To Increase Flexibility

You probably dont think about getting your feet in shape the way you do your stomach or your thighs. But exercising your feet can help increase your flexibility and mobility, important when you have arthritis in your feet. Good exercises involve stretching your Achilles tendon as well as the tendons in the balls of your feet and toes. A good exercise for arthritic feet is simply to wiggle your toes. Frisch has his patients use the TV as an exercise aid.

When a commercial comes on, use that time to wiggle, he says. Just dont overdo: Stretching is good to help joint mobility, but dont do it to the point where youre hurting yourself.

These Exercises For Arthritic Feet May Help You Stand And Maintain Your Activity Level

Research shows that walking is good medicine for arthritis pain.1 But the most difficult thing about having arthritic feet and ankles is that walking around with that discomfort in your feet makes you want to stop doing exactly thatwalking. So if youre one of the many suffering from foot arthritis pain, chances are good youre choosing Netflix on the couch over a weekend hike or a walk in the park.

When arthritis pain strikes, use Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel. It provides targeted relief from arthritis pain where you need it most.

Dont stop there, though. Strengthening the feet is a great way to reduce arthritis pain, explains Jordan Metzl, MD, sports medicine physician at Hospital For Special Surgery. The more strength you have, the better your feet will act and feel, says Dr. Metzl.

Want to give strengthening a go? Dr. Metzl suggests the following foot exercises to help reduce arthritis symptoms, so you can be active.

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Use Hot And Cold Therapy

Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.

  • Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
  • Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.

Medications To Treat Foot Arthritis

Toe Pain Treatment in a Minute with Prolotherapy

Different drugs are used to treat foot pain from arthritis and related conditions.

Medications to ease pain and inflammation, slow bone loss, slow disease progress or prevent joint damage are important in treating many foot problems that cause pain. Medications used to treat arthritis and related problems that affect the feet depend on the condition. Here are the types of medications commonly used to treat musculoskeletal conditions.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Including more than a dozen different drugs, some of which are available without a prescription, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to help ease arthritis pain and inflammation. They are used for all forms of arthritis. Most NSAIDs are taken orally, but topical preparations are available that can help foot pain, such as Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel and Pennsaid.

Corticosteroids. These quick-acting drugs, similar to the cortisone the body produces, are used to control inflammation. If inflammation is due to a systemic inflammatory disease, your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids. If inflammation is limited to one or a few joints, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid preparation directly into the joint.

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Invest In Proper Footwear

When you have arthritis, your shoes are either going to help you or hurt you, says Jackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in New York City. Proper fit is a key factor in how foot-friendly shoes are. Besides having to accommodate an arthritic joint that may have stiffness, swelling, and contracture, shoes need to fit the hammertoes and bunions that often happen along with arthritis. Comfort brands like Vionic, Ecco, Clarks, and Mephisto are designed to be stylish and comfortable. They include arch support, heel cups, thick soles, cushioning, and shock absorption.

People with bad osteoarthritis in the feet may particularly benefit from shoes with rocker soles, which have a thicker-than-normal sole with a curved heel. A shoe with this type of sole reduces pressure under the big toe joint by 12 percent in people with OA, research shows. In a recent study the pain score in those who wore rocker sole shoes improved by 22 points.

Soothe With Ice And Heat

Cold therapy can provide relief for inflamed joints in the wrist. Cold constricts the blood vessels in the muscles, which decreases blood flow to the joint area to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat therapy warms the skin and the joints, which causes blood vessels to dilate, and sends more oxygen and nutrients to the joints and muscles. Try both and see which makes you feel best.

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Is Soaking In Epsom Salt Good For Arthritis

An Epsom salt bath may provide pain relief and reduce swelling in people living with certain types of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and psoriatic arthritis. Low levels of magnesium can ease the pain in people with arthritis.

Arthritis In The Heel And Ankle

Arthritis in Feet â How to Manage Pain

Several types of arthritis, including OA, RA, AS, and PsA, can affect the heels and the ankles.

Symptoms of arthritis in the heel might include:

  • Stiffness upon awakening in the morning
  • Recurring pain in the heel
  • Swelling of the heel
  • Limited movement
  • Skin changes, including rashes and growths

Inflammation at the heel from RA, AS, or PsA can lead to conditions that cause heel pain. This might include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or retrocalcaneal bursitis, a condition in which the bursa becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling.

The ankle is not affected by arthritis as often as other joints, but it can be a source of severe pain and instability when it is affected. Additional symptoms of ankle arthritis include swelling and stiffness of the ankle and problems with mobility. Ankle arthritis will eventually affect gaitthe way a person walks.

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Can You Shave Off Arthritis

Surgery and bone trimming To ease movement and reduce pain, your doctor may trim damaged bone. If arthritis is severe, the joint may be fused or removed. If the bone is not damaged too badly, your doctor may simply shave away bone spurs. Any extra bone growth related to a bunion may also be trimmed.

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