Big Toe Arthritis Pain

Big Toe Arthritis Pain: Learn about the most common causes of big toe arthritis (Osteoarthritis & Gout) & learn how to start treating them immediately!


Big Toe Arthritis Pain
Arthritis in the 1st Metatarsal Phalangeal Joint (Big Toe Joint).


What Causes Big Toe Arthritis Pain?

Big toe arthritis is caused by inflammation of the big toe joint. There are many causes of arthritis, but usually only 3 major causes in the big toe joint alone:

Osteoarthritis: This is the classic wear and tear arthritis that occurs in patients over 40-50 years old.

Traumatic Arthritis: This arthritis can occur after a serious injury to the big toe joint. Examples include a broken bone or cartilage damage (not just a sprain).

Gout: This is known as a crystal arthritis, it is the results of uric acid crystals in the joint. This is very common (5 million in USA) & is extremely painful for 1-2 days.


Symptoms of Big Toe Arthritis Pain:

1) Osteoarthritis & Traumatic Arthritis:

  • Worse with activity.
  • Better at rest.
  • Decreased joint range of motion.
  • Aching pain.
  • Fatigue like pain.


2) Gout:

  • Extreme pain for 1-2 days without injury.
  • High degree of redness.
  • High degree of swelling.
  • Usually after a night of alcohol drinking (dehydration).
  • 8+/10 on the pain scale.
  • Better with ice & anti-inflammatory medication.


 Treatment of Big Toe Arthritis Pain:

There are 3 stages to Big Toe Arthritis Pain Relief. This guide focuses primarily on osteoarthritis & traumatic arthritis. You should go see a podiatrist immediately at the first signs of gout in the big toe; you will need pain medication!

-Skip To The Complete Toe Arthritis Guide.

1)Decrease The Inflammation:

This must be done for approximately 1-2 weeks until the pain decreases.

  • Cryotherapy: Ice the big toe joint for 15-20 minutes.
  • NSAIDs: Use an anti-inflammatory(Ibuprofen, Naproxen etc)  to decrease the inflammation. Do this under the supervision of your physician. Less inflammation means better healing.
  • Over The Counter Orthotics: Get a rigid pair for approximately $25 (I like Powersteps), this will greatly improve your foot stress! The best foot value you can possibly get! (Avoid the flimsy gel inserts, they don’t work!)


2)Start Correcting The Cause:

Do this for a couple months and see if the joint pain is getting better.

  • Weight loss: I won’t say anything else!
  • Custom Orthotics:  If you have insurance, they can be more durable & offer better control.
  • Stretching of Hamstrings, Calves & Plantar Fascia: **This is the most important thing you can do**. This is the most important thing you can do to improve the pressure distribution while you walk & stand.


3)See The Podiatrist:

Something made that pain appear in the first place and it is a good idea to get it checked out & find the root cause of it.

  • Biomechanical Consult: Evaluate your entire bio-mechanical structure. See if you arthritis is caused by tight muscles, knees, hips or back? Or maybe even problems that you didn’t know about like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis.
  • Surgical Consult: Only a small percentage of people ever end up needing this, usually in very advanced disease.



For more on toe arthritis:

The Complete Toe Arthritis Guide.

About the author

The Modern Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist Doctor):Today's podiatrist is required to undergo rigorous medical training that licenses them as physicians with equivalent legal standing to the MD and DO degree (These are physician recognized licenses most common only in the USA). Although admittedly the training does differ between the three degrees. The differences are listed below.In Michigan Podiatrists are trained and authorized to perform surgery in the foot and ankle up to the tibial tubercle below the knee.All our podiatrists and foot doctors have undergone rigorous training including a 4 undergraduate college degree, writing the medical school entrance exam (MCAT), followed by a 4 year medical school degree (DPM - Doctor of Podiatric Medicine),Once podiatrists in the USA complete the rigorous 4 year medical school courses, they are required to complete a minimum of 3 years of a surgical and non-surgical residency program. Some podiatrists and foot doctors then choose to go on to further fellowship training specializing in various forms of specialty such as diabetic surgery or reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.The training is not over yet! Each podiatrist must be judged by a governing body where they submit their surgical cases and are reviewed regularly to ensure excellent results. This is a career long evaluation with board qualifications and certifications every few years.So have faith that today's podiatrist is your best choice for your foot and ankle problems! We are able to approach you foot and ankle problems from a non-surgery perspective, but that when necessary we can provide you with the treatment that you need!All articles written by this account are considered to be for educational purposes only. It is impossible for us to truly assess your condition and the advice we give here is meant to give you a basis to then follow up with your podiatrist and foot doctor later.If you have any questions at all, or there is anything that we can help you with, please feel free to contact our office or email us. Podiatrists provide medically necessary treatment which should be covered by valid insurance plans, we are not a cosmetic or elective medical specialty.