We’ve met patients who’ve endured the pain of arthritis in their big toe for years before coming to see us, and that’s just not necessary. Big toe arthritis is extremely common, and it’s treatable.
May is Arthritis Awareness Month – a good time to let our expert podiatrists, Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts and Dr. Heidi M. Christie of Montgomery Foot Care Specialists motivate you to make a move to treat your big toe arthritis. Let’s start by understanding what’s behind the pain – and finish with reasons to finally put an end to it.
What exactly is arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. A healthy joint is cushioned with cartilage. But over time, arthritis will break down this natural cushioning. Without the cartilage, bone rubs against bone, and that’s why your toe is stiff and painful. Joint pain is often accompanied by the growth of painful bone spurs.
In the big toe, there are two joints and the one most often stricken with arthritis is the one at the base. Pain and limited movement in the base of the toe can start out mild – hallux limitus – and get progressively worse – hallux rigidus.
What the ache looks and feels like
- Redness and swelling of the joint
- Pain and stiffness while walking, standing, or wearing certain shoes
- Difficulty performing activities that require a bent toe such as squatting or lunging
- As the condition worsens, your toe will be painful even when at rest.
For best results, treat it early
Once you get to the point of hallux rigidus, your toe is frozen. Problems can also travel into your knee, hip, or back because your bum toe has made you change the way you walk. That’s why it’s important to see Dr. Christie or Dr. Day-Houts at the early signs of big toe joint stiffness and pain. We can help stop the progression of the disease with
- shoe modifications
- orthotic inserts
- anti-inflammatory medications
- corticosteroid injections
- physical therapy
The longer you wait to treat pain and stiffness in your big toe, the more complicated it’ll be to fix it. Cut your suffering short by making an appointment with us at our office in Montgomery, AL for a full exam and recommendations for treatment. Call us at (334) 396-3668 or visit us online.