Arthritis in the Toes: Causes, Management, and Treatments

Rohan Mathew

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According to the CDC, 54 million adults live with arthritis in the U.S. That’s 23% of the adult population.

24 million people have physical limitations because of their arthritis. 1 in 4 people says they struggle with severe joint pain.

Arthritis is the top condition that leads to work disability. 60% of working adults between the ages of 18 to 64 in America suffer from arthritis. 8 million working adults say that arthritis limits their ability to work.

Arthritis has life-altering effects on a lot of people but there are so many different kinds. What is arthritis in the toes? Keep reading to learn more about it.

What Is It?

If you’re struggling with arthritis in your toes this can be a very painful condition you’re experiencing. Arthritis in your toes is an inflammation of the joints in the front of your foot.

The joint most often affected is the one that connects your big toe to the rest of your foot. The inflammation can come and go, some days can feel more severe than others. It can also be a constant presence leading to a lot of pain and discomfort.

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Some of the Symptoms Described

Arthritis pain is the most common symptom associated with this condition. The type of pain will differ from person to person.

Some will only feel pain in the big toe while others will feel it in all the toes. Your pain might feel like an ache or it might feel sharper. Levels of pain will also fluctuate.

Inflammation in the joints of your toes can also create stiffness and make walking difficult. Swelling is another common symptom that will leave your toes red and warm.

Clicking noises are another symptom that occurs because of deterioration to the joints in your feet.

What Causes Arthritis?

Arthritis in your toes can be caused by several different things. Some common ones include previous fractures or sprains that caused trauma and wear and tear from years of being on your feet.

Not being careful with an injury and putting pressure on a joint before it’s ready is another common cause of arthritis. Excess weight can also put added pressure on your joints.

High-heeled shoes damage the joints in your toes as well. A history of arthritis or autoimmune conditions that affect the joints can be another reason why you’ve developed arthritis.

A Diagnosis Is Required 

If some of the symptoms described above relate to you, you might have arthritis in your toes. The best thing you can do is visit your doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical examination to check if you have fluid in the joints, a sign of inflammation.

They’ll also check for swelling and check what kind of range of motion you have. If further examination is required your doctor will send you to a doctor that specializes in arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints.

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Available Treatments 

There are many arthritis treatments available to help you deal with some of the uncomfortable symptoms you might experience.

Anti-inflammatory or pain medication can help reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor might suggest injecting steroids into the area to help reduce the uncomfortable inflammation.

Your doctor might also suggest visiting a chiropractor for arthritis. Chiropractic treatments are a great alternative to pain medication and can help improve range of motion if this is something you’re struggling with.

Other Ways to Manage It

Other methods can help treat the symptoms of your toe arthritis. Applying ice for 20 minutes at a time can help with joint inflammation.

Wearing comfortable shoes with plenty of room for your toes and arch support, avoiding high heels, is another way to prevent more pain and discomfort.

Try to apply heat, for 20 minutes as well, before exercise. This can relax the muscles in your feet and make movement easier.

Surgeries to Consider

While surgery isn’t the answer for everyone, it can provide pain relief if it’s become too severe. Surgery will trim the bone in your foot that’s causing the most joint inflammation.

A cheilectomy surgery removes part of the bone to allow more movement. Arthrodesis fuses the bones with pins or screws to prevent movement and is effective at treating the most severe pain. Arthroplasty removes the joint and replaces it with an artificial one.

Preventative Changes 

While nothing can really prevent you from developing foot arthritis there are some changes you can make to your life to lower your risk as you grow older.

Regular exercise will put less pressure on your toes and lower your chance of developing arthritis. Swimming and biking are good forms of exercise that don’t put a lot of pressure on your feet.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also lower your risk of developing arthritis in your toes by reducing the pressure on your joints. If you already have arthritis, staying within a healthy weight range will help reduce pain.

Eating a well-balanced diet can also help reduce inflammation if you’re struggling with this symptom of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory foods like fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains are great additions you can make to your diet.

What to Expect Long Term 

Since there is currently no arthritis cure, it’s important to know what you should expect if with this condition throughout life. Symptoms will vary as you age.

Stiffness can progress over time but it can also remain the same. The same goes for inflammation. Making healthy changes to your lifestyle and speaking to your doctor about different treatments can help you maintain a good grasp on this condition.

Arthritis in the Toes Explained

Arthritis in the toes is a common condition affecting many adults in the U.S. This condition can result because of past injuries or family history. Treatment can include medication or chiropractic care among other things.

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