If you are experiencing pain, swelling and/or stiffness in your toes, you may be suffering from a condition known as arthritis. Here, we will look at the possible forms that arthritis may take, how it can affect your day-to-day routine, and how you can combat the symptoms and free yourself from the agony it can bring.
Common symptoms of arthritis that affect the toes include:
- Pain: While you may experience pain in the toes when you are active, pain may present even when the joints are relaxing.
- Stiffness and/or loss of function: Arthritis can on occasion cause limited movement in the affected areas. In particular, if affected, the big toe may be unable to fully bend upwards, which may cause pain when walking. Furthermore, if severe enough, the afflicted joints may be unable to move at all, and depending on the severity, walking on flat surfaces may be compromised.
- Swelling and inflammation: Swelling and inflammation: You may experience these symptoms in your toes and the joints associated with walking.
- Formation of a bump: Bumps may be present: Almost like a bunion or callus, you may develop bumps as the joints rub together.
Symptoms of arthritis in the toes:
When coping with arthritis, you may find yourself altering how you walk, which can cause secondary pains in areas of the foot that aren’t used to compensating for the other areas that should be working properly. This kind of alteration to your gait can have long lasting side effects.
- Muscle Aches
- Irregular toe formations, such as a clawed toe or a hammertoe
- Irregularities in the toenail, which include but are not limited to differing thickness, strength, or growth
- Experiencing pain in other areas on the foot
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the soft tissues in between your joints called cartilage that helps smooth joint movement and reduce impact damage to the bones.
There are several unique types of arthritis that can present and cause issues in the toes. Included are:
Osteoarthritis (OA) causes the cartilage between the joints to deteriorate, and is the most common presentation of arthritis in the toes. When the cartilage fails to prevent the bones in the joints from rubbing against each other, those afflicted will experience pain and discomfort on or around the areas afflicted.
You may hear from your orthopedic specialist the term “hallux rigidus” when referring to OA as it occurs in the toe. This simply means that the big toe (hallux) is stiff (rigidus)
OA generally presents at the bottom joint of the big toe. Your specialist may refer to this area as the metatarsophalangeal joint, but it’s easier just to refer to it as the MTP joint.