Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
What is arthritis of the big toe?
Osteoarthritis of the big toe is one of the degenerative inflammatory diseases. It is said to be degenerative because of the gradual and permanent deterioration of the cartilage.
The Patient suffering from arthritis of the big toe notes a hardening of the joint, as well as an incapacitating loss of mobility at any time (especially during the crisis phase of arthrosis of the big toe). Inflammation in the big toe joint is then very present and brings swelling that can exacerbate the pain.
The most common form of rheumatism of the big toe, osteoarthritis of the big toe causes pain, as well as a deformity in the joint, which is embarrassing for the patient.
However, like any form of rheumatism, osteoarthritis, such as monoarthritis of the big toe, is easier to treat when detected early in its evolutionary cycle.
Here are some symptoms of arthritis of the big toe:
- Atypical local pain
- Intermittent pain
- Pain that gradually increases in severity
- Joint stiffening
- Complications: hallux rigidus
- Joint deformity
Regardless of the severity of these symptoms, their onset and progression are grounds for imminent consultation to avoid irreversible complications related to osteoarthritis of the big toe. Calling in a Podiatrist to establish a diagnosis is the first step in receiving appropriate treatment.
Causes of arthritis of the big toe
Basically, arthritis of the big toe is a wear and tear of the cartilage present to protect the bony surfaces of the big toe joint. In all cases, the cartilage cracks, becomes thinner and loses its protective properties for the bone. The bone is therefore exposed to direct friction at all times when the joint is active. It is not uncommon to see patients suffering from both thumb and foot osteoarthritis.
In addition to heredity, there are various causes for the development of rheumatism of the big toe. Here are a few of them:
- Old age
- Being overweight
- Flat feet
- The presence of repeated traumas caused by sport
- A poorly healed wound
- Wearing high-heeled shoes
Although the majority of causes involve physiological factors, osteoarthritis of the big toe can also result from an inflammatory disease such as gout, foot arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
During your consultation with your doctor, he or she will listen to your symptoms and ask you several questions to highlight diagnostic criteria that can be used to better confirm the presence of osteoarthritis of the big toe. In all cases, several options will be offered to you, as well as information. The Podiatrist is the professional you should consult to relieve the pain of this rheumatism of the big toe as well as to treat the condition and also to prevent its deterioration.
Prevent arthritis of the big toe
There are several effective ways to prevent osteoarthritis of the big toe. In particular, wearing appropriate footwear that is adapted to the activities is strongly recommended.
The goal is to minimize trauma and excessive pressure on the big toe. Here are some ways to prevent the development of osteoarthritis of the big toe:
- Avoid frequent wearing of high-heeled shoes to reduce unnecessary pressure on the joint and the possibility of joint deformity
- Make sure to maintain a healthy weight, to reduce the load on the joints
- Optimize your shoes: check that they are neither too narrow nor too loose
- Adapt one’s practice of joint impact sports such as running, skiing, etc.
If you are affected by one (or more) predisposing factor(s) such as heredity, it goes without saying that these means of prevention for big toe arthritis should be considered. In order to verify if these means of prevention apply to your activities, or to obtain more advice, do not hesitate to talk about it with your Podiatrician.
Treatment of arthritis of the big toe
Today, many treatments are available to alleviate the problems caused by arthritis of the big toe. A Podiatrist will be able to guide you in adapting the best treatment for your condition.
Treatments for arthritis of the big toe
Depending on the results of a clinical examination, including or not a prescription in a digital radiography clinic, your Podiatrist will be able to make a diagnosis. He will then recommend a personalized treatment based on the damage incurred. Here are a few types of possible treatments:
- Intra-articular cortisone injections
- Prescription of foot orthotics
- Prescription of anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs to relieve pain and reduce the level of inflammation.
In more serious cases, your doctor will be able to validate the appropriateness of surgery, and then guide you towards the best approaches for your specific case.2021