Arthritis in the big toe

Arthritis in the big toe

Arthritis is a chronic joint disease with various forms depending on the body part it affects, as well as the way of this affection. Osteoarthritis is one of the arthritis forms we know. About 65% of the world arthritis cases are osteoarthritis. And arthritis in the big toe is a classical, common case of an osteoarthritis.

But what exactly the arthritis in the big toe is?

Hallux (big toe) Limitus (limited movement) is a condition where the big toe is limited in its movement – Hallux Rigidus is where the big toe cannot bend at all. The condition is often not painful at the big toe joint, but the change in walking pattern causes pain in the knee and along the outside of the leg into the hip. In some cases where the arthritic change has progressed there will be pain in the joint associated with bone rubbing where the joint space has become eroded.

The most common sign of arthritis in any aching joint is pain and stiffness. Arthritis is basically a condition of too much inflammation. In most cases, inflammation is a normal process that your body uses to repair injured or damaged tissue. In fact, we know that inflammation is the very phase first phase of wound healing. Without inflammation, your body just can’t repair itself. But when the inflammation continues for too long, a destructive cycle of events can begin. When you have a chronic cycle of inflammation, the tissue that lines the inside of the joint (called “synovial tissue”) gets very irritated and swells. Sometimes it swells so much that it makes the joint stiff. In severe cases, the tissue can become so inflamed that it actually protrudes and can get cuaght in the joint. This pinching of the soft tissue in between the bones can be very painful. Extra nerve endings begin to grow within the joint tissues, which can cause sensitivity to weather changes. Over time, your body attempts to protect itself from all of this painful motion. Bone spurs start to grow at the edges of the joint to decrease or block all of this painful motion. Unfortunately, the growth of bone spurs (called “osteophytes” by podiatrists) makes the problem worse. The joints can jam and lead to cartilage damage within the joint. Eventually the cartilage damage becomes extensive enough that you get painful bone on bone grinding within the joint. When it gets to this point, foot doctors refer to the condition as “advanced degenerative joint disease.” Once the destruction of the joint cartilage has occurred, you basically either need to learn to live with the pain, or have foot surgery to correct the problem.

What are the main treatment types for arthritis in big toe?

Depending on the movement and the pain in the joint the condition will normally be treated using an orthotic to reduce the loading from this area during normal walking and in so doing, attempt to reduce the stress in the knee, leg and hip. Surgery is not a great option for most as you should expect to be off your feet for 6 weeks with realistically another 4-6 weeks before you are wearing work shoes or driving comfortably. Surgery should be considered when all conservative options have failed. You should expect to get some information about shoes that you may not like – i.e. you may need to consider changing the type of shoes that you wear in order to reduce the pain in the area. While orthotics will help reduce the pain in this condition, it is important to understand that because of the level of damage to the joint, pain may return from time to time, however management with orthotics and appropriate footwear will help reduce the level of pain as much as is possible.

How to prevent your big toes from arthritis?

Prevention is the best medicine, they say. But is it really possible to prevent the body of getting arthritis in big toe? There some factors that can reduce the risk. For in stance, keeping your blood sugar level and your weight in proper condition can be good start. Also, keep your body in shape, be physically active and stay away of incidents and injuries.

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