What Are The Symptoms Of Big Toe Joint Arthritis
If you have big toe joint arthritis, you will likely experience:
- Stiffness and pain in the big toe joint
- Difficulty moving the big toe up and down
- Inflammation and swelling around the joint
- Pain that worsens with an increase in activity
Some patients may also develop a bump on top of the foot at the base of the big toe that can indicate the presence of a bone spur .
There are several factors that can increase your risk for big toe joint arthritis:
- Age most cases of big toe joint arthritis develop between the ages of 30 and 60
- Occupation jobs that place significant stress on the big toe, including those which require periods spent squatting or stooping, put you at a higher risk for developing the condition
- Foot anatomy certain structural abnormalities such as flat foot or excessive pronation of the foot can make you more prone to developing hallux rigidus
- Big toe injuries significant or repeated injuries to the big toe including stubbing the toe can damage the joints cartilage and make arthritis more likely
- Inflammatory diseases certain inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, can cause big toe joint arthritis
I Have Heard It Is Very Painful
The nature of surgery means that there will be pain and swelling, usually worse the night after surgery. However, with modern anaesthetic techniques and pain killers, this can be well controlled. The level of pain experienced varies greatly from patient to patient with some experiencing no significant discomfort.
Fusion For Arthritis In Toes
This surgical procedure stimulates bone growth across the joint. The joint is fused together permanently with pins, screws, or a plate. When bone grows across the toe joint, it wont bend anymore. But since the joint is fused, pain is also relieved. Dr. Archer says that she rarely does this type of surgery. Its usually done in active laborers, like carpenters and mechanics, to give them a stable joint with no pain, says Dr. Geier.
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Hot And Cold Compresses
Hot and cold treatments can help during flare-ups, but how you use them depends on your needs. A hot compress is used to relax muscles and lubricate joints to relive stiffness, while a cold compress is to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Using heat before activity is worthwhile, and cold therapy should be applied afterwards if pain and inflammation occurs.
Treatment Options For Foot Arthritis
There are lots of things we can do to help reduce the pain of your foot arthritis. Pain relievers can help with discomfort, while anti-inflammatory medication can decrease swelling in the joints.
Wearing proper-fitting shoes with support and rubber soles for cushioning is essential. Or we can make you special orthotic inserts or custom shoes to support your foot and ankle.
Specialized exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and toes can help with strength and flexibility. Using canes or braces for support, and losing weight may improve arthritis pain as well.
Other treatment options Dr. Rambacher may recommend include steroid injections, fusing the joints together to lessen friction, or surgically removing any troublesome bone spurs. We also offer stem cell therapy to help regenerate new cartilage.
If you’re tired of arthritis pain in your feet making you uncomfortable and reducing your mobility, Dr. Rambacher is ready to treat your foot arthritis. You can or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.
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Clicking And Popping Noises
You know how it sounds when you crack your knuckles? You may start to hear similar sounds in your toes if you have arthritis. A grinding noise is a fairly common symptom as well.
These sounds are caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that typically cushions the two bones in a joint. As that cartilage wears away, the bones may rub against one another, causing these sounds.
If bone spurs develop, they can also cause clicks and cracks.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Your entire body weight falls on your feet while standing, which puts a lot of strain on your toe joints. The heavier you are, the more stress your joints will have to endure.
Under such conditions, even simple but regular activities such as walking can cause wear and tear in your joints, which can worsen over time. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore very important to minimize joint degeneration.
The best way to stay fit and reach your weight goals involves a 2-part approach:
- Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet
- Burning the extra calories through some form of physical activity done for about 30 minutes daily
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Manage The Rheumatic Disease Manage The Foot Pain
Surgery is often needed to alleviate the pain associated with bunions, hammertoes, and nodules, according to AAOS. Foot surgery may involve resetting the bones or fusing joints to correct the position of bones and joints.
Local steroid injections are particularly beneficial for inflamed joints and plantar fasciitis. But before you schedule surgery or an office visit for injections, you might try non-invasive approaches such as braces, or choose shoes or inserts designed to support your feet, AAOS recommends.
Uncontrolled inflammation leads to joint bone erosions and other damage, which leads to foot deformities, said Lightfoot. Early use of the newer and much more effective remittive drugs to lesson or eliminate inflammation is key to preventing bone damage and resulting deformities, Lightfoot says.
What Will Treatment Consist Of For Osteoarthritis Of The Big Toe
Massage Encompassing a variety of techniques with sufficient pressure through the superficial tissue to reach the deep lying structures. It is used to increase blood flow, decrease swelling, reduce muscle spasm and promote normal tissue repair.
Mobilisation A manual technique where the joint and soft tissues are gently moved by the therapist to restore normal range, lubricate tissues and relieve pain.
Ultrasonic Therapy Transmits sound waves into the tissues stimulating the bodys chemical reactions and healing process, just as shaking a test tube in the laboratory speeds up a chemical reaction. It reduces tissue spasm, accelerates healing and results in pain relief.
Interferential Therapy Introduces a small electrical current into the tissues and can be used at varying frequencies for differing treatment effects. E.g. pain relief, muscle or nerve stimulation, promoting blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Gait re-education Will be taught if you are struggling to walk or weight bear through the foot. This may involve using a walking aid which should then allow you to walk normally with reduced symptoms.
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What Are My Treatment Options
It is generally wise to trial non-surgical treatments prior to considering surgery. In some cases of mild arthritis, an injection into the joint may provide meaningful pain relief but it may not be long-lasting and it is not permanent.
For those with ongoing symptoms that are affecting quality of life, then surgery is often an attractive option. Motion and joint-preserving procedures are preferred wherever possible but it is worth noting that even joint fusion surgery has good results when indicated.
The main surgical procedures available to patients suffering from big toe arthritis include the following:
- Cheilectomy: this small procedure simply removes the bone spurs. It preserves joint motion and can be very successful, particularly for early arthritis.
- Osteotomy: this involves realigning the joint. It is only indicated in certain circumstances, but preserves joint motion and can be helpful in mild to moderate cases.
- Joint replacement: much like the hip or knee, the big toe joint can be replaced. It is reserved for more advanced cases of arthritis. Not all arthritic toe joints will benefit from this treatment.
- Fusion: if the joint is very badly damaged, then fusing it shut is a good choice, as this operation has a very high success rate. Although it sounds alarming, the loss of motion of the main toe joint is well accommodated by the other joints of the foot and the pain relief is excellent.
Why Do Some People Develop Arthritis In Big Toe
We see significant toe arthritis in people with abnormal mechanics of the foot. In particular, a long or elevated big toe can lead to irregular forces on the joint and early arthritis. Other factors leading to arthritis include a past break or injury, wearing poorly-fitting shoes, or arthritis disorders such as gout.
Prevent A Bent Big Toe From Getting Worse
So how do you help a bent big toe before arthritis fully sets in? First, make sure your shoes arent wearing too much on the outside. If they are, your foot isnt hitting the ground correctly, and that could be causing forces which have bent the big toe joint. The solution to this is to get orthotics to help redistribute the forces properly as your foot strikes the ground.
Second, avoid high heels, pointy-toed shoes, and other shoes that force or reinforce that big toe into a bent position. Third, you can use a toe straighteneryes, such a thing really existswhen you sleep. There are many brands on the market, and they can help to gradually and gently realign a bent big toe.
In the meantime, if you also have pain, the supplements chondroitin and glucosamine have been shown to be effective pain relievers, and they preserve cartilage . Curcumin can also relieve pain from arthritis . If the bent big toe pain still wont go away, consider a high-dose PRP injection.
The upshot? The best solution for helping a bent big toe is dont procrastinate. Address it early and treat it quickly! Once arthritis sets in and advances, it creates a more challenging problem to deal with. Additionally, that bent big toe can put more stress on the surrounding structures and even disrupt body symmetry, leading to more problems elsewhere.
Chris Centeno, MD
A Better Big Toe Starts With You
Arthritis in the big toe becomes troublesome if left untreated. Fortunately, there are non-surgical steps that work well. These steps work particularly well if started early. For more severe cases, removing damaged bone and realigning the joint will help. With any surgery, there are risks involved. Make sure to speak with the surgeon to iron out any concerns. Hallux rigidus does not have to impact ones quality of life. Make sure to take action early to reduce the pain and stiffness.
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What Can I Do Once I Leave Hospital
You will need to rest with your foot up most of the time, when sitting elevated on a chair, or on a pillow when lying down. When the foot is lowered it will throb and swell. This should be avoided. With time, the period you can keep the foot down will increase. After two to three weeks you should be able to keep it down most of the time.
At around two weeks after surgery, you will return to the clinic for follow up. Following this your recovery will depend on the type of operation you have had.
Cheilectomy For Arthritis In Toes
The most common surgery, cheilectomy, involves removing bone spurs that have formed around joints that have become arthritic. Its typically done when arthritis is in the big toe. It can help relieve discomfort around the joint and improve movement of the joint. The toe may stay swollen for several months, but youll likely experience long-term relief. However, removing bone spurs doesnt address the worn-out cartilage within the joint. So bone spurs often return in the future. This surgery has a high revision rate because youre treating the arthritis as its in progression. So continues to progress. says Dr. Hampton. Youve removed the bad parts of the bone but you dont actually replace the joint.
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Will I Need Surgery For Hallux Rigidus
Sometimes, conservative measures arent enough. You may still have pain and stiffness. If the pain interferes with your life, surgery can help. Surgical procedures for hallux rigidus include:
- Cheilectomy : Shaving the bone spur can help relieve pain and preserve joint motion. A cheilectomy allows more room for the toe to bend.
- Osteotomy: Cutting the bone can realign or shorten the big toe.
- Interpositional arthroplasty: Healthcare providers may recommend this joint resurfacing procedure for younger patients. Surgeons remove some of the damaged bone. They place a spacer of donor tissue between the joint ends to relieve pain.
- Arthrodesis: For severe cases, this joint fusion procedure can provide long-lasting pain relief. Surgeons remove the damaged cartilage and join the two bones together. This surgery offers a permanent solution but may restrict big toe movement.
What Can You Do Yourself To Help Osteoarthritis Of The Big Toe
Exercise programme This is the most important part of the rehabilitation, your therapist will instruct you as to which exercises to begin with, when to add the others, as well as how to progress the exercises.
Active Rest Keep active but avoid activities and footwear that aggravate your condition.
Apply an ice pack For a maximum of 20 minutes. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a damp cloth works well because it moulds to the shape of the tissues. Ensure that you do not apply ice directly to the skin as this can cause an ice burn.
Weight Control Is important as being overweight puts the joints under much greater strain.
Medication Ask your GP or Pharmacist for advice on the best medication for your condition.
Podiatry An analysis of the foot mechanics and structure during walking or running and correction as appropriate.
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Physical Therapy For Arthritis In Toes
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.
Arthritis In Toes Is Manageable
Your toes contain joints that, like any others in your body, are not immune from arthritis. A variety of factors play a role in your risk for toe arthritis, but there are lifestyle and dietary adjustments you can make to reduce the chances youll get it.
If youve been having pain in your toe joint, speak to your doctor about potential causes and treatments.
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Home Remedies For Big Toe Arthritis
An estimated 54.4 million American adults were told they had some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia between 2013 and 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Arthritis can affect any part of the body where joints exist and your toes are not an exception. In fact, toe arthritis is very common and many people suffer from this painful problem.
In most cases, toe arthritis attacks the big toe, but the other toes could be affected as well. Big toe arthritis, also known as hallux limitus or hallux rigidus, occurs when the big toe moves upward or begins to form bone spurs, which limits the range of motion of the toe.
Your risk of big toe arthritis increases as you age. This is mostly due to wear and tear. The risk is also higher if you have a family history of it or if you are obese.
Big toe arthritis usually starts with a stiffness of the joint and can be accompanied by swelling and redness. Other symptoms include enlargement of the joint, pain, difficulty wearing certain shoes, difficulty walking , associated deformity, and soft tissue irritation or inflammation.
It is not at all unusual for patients to confuse bunions with big toe arthritis because both conditions can cause pain and a bump and enlargement at the big toe joint. But they are actually very different.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for big toe arthritis.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Toes
Common symptoms of toe arthritis may include:
You have pain in the toes that can take hours or days to subside.
You have swelling and inflammation around the toe joints.
- With rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, swelling and edema is associated with redness.
- With osteoarthritis, there is more bone enlargement of the toe joints as a result of bone spur formation, says podiatrist Krista A. Archer, DPM, a podiatric surgeon who is on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Bone spurs are bony projections that develop along bone edges, often due to joint damage from arthritis.
You have restricted range of motion due to swelling or damage to cartilage in any joints that are in the toes, midfoot, rearfoot, and ankle, says Dr. Archer. Bone spurs will often develop around the joint, restricting movement.
You may be unable to bend your big toe upward and have pain when doing so, says Chadwick Hampton, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. That can make it difficult and painful to walk.
Your toe may become bent permanently downward and cant be positioned flat on the floor.
Your pain worsens with weight-bearing activities like jogging, walking, and climbing stairs. It depends on how severe the deformity is to predict what kind of activities will be painful, says Dr. Archer.
You may have a bump form when the joints rub together. It resembles a callus or bunion.
You may have pitted, separated, or thick toenails.
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