Toe Arthritis

Toe Arthritis

Toe Arthritis: If your big toe or little toe joints are stiff and painful, you may have arthritis. Learn how to diagnose & fix it immediately at HOME!

Toe Arthritis
Big Toe Joint Osteoarthritis.


What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis means irritation or inflammation of a joint. Joint inflammation can be caused by many factors, but the 3 most common in the big toe joint are:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is known as the classical “wear & tear” arthritis. It occurs as you get older and abnormal forces force the bones to start grinding against each other. It is very common in the big toe joint & the smaller toes if they are “hammertoes”. This usually occurs in at least the 40-50 year+ patient.

Toe Arthritis


  • Traumatic Arthritis: This is as a result of damage or a broken bone in the joint. This is very common if you have ever experienced a broken toe, turf toe or a severe cartilage injury. This usually happens a few years or even decades after one of those injuries. The mechanism otherwise is the same as osteoarthritis.



  • Gout: This is one of the most common arthritic diseases in the USA, with millions suffering from it. It occurs almost exclusively in the big toe joint.

Toe Arthritis



  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a systemic autoimmune disease, where the white blood cells attack the cartilage in your joints. This can attack both feet and all the toes (usually many at the same time).

Toe Arthritis

  • Psoriatic Arthritis: This is similar to rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune). It occurs in 10-30% of people with psoriasis and primarily attacks the toes & forefoot.



For further arthritis diagnosis:

Complete Foot Arthritis Diagnosis Guide.



Symptoms Of Toe Arthritis:

  • Pain at the end of joint range of motion.
  • Pain gets worse with activity (Osteoarthritis, Traumatic Arthritis).
  • Pain is worse at rest (Rheumatoid & Psoriatic Arthritis).
  • Pain hurts no matter what for 1-2 days (Gout).


Toe Arthritis
Big Toe Arthritis. (Photo Credit :



Most Common Locations Of Toe Arthritis:


The Big Toe Joint.

  • Osteoarthritis: Very common at the big toe joint.
  • Gout: Gout is almost always at the big toe joint.
  • Traumatic Arthritis: Very common after a serious big toe injury.
  • Not Common: Rheumatoid or Psoriatic Arthritis.

Check the other most common non-arthritis causes of big toe joint pain:

*Big Toe Joint Pain Guide.*



Less Toe Joints (2nd through 5th toes):

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: It will effect all lesser digits in both feet & hands if present.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis:┬áIt will effect all lesser digits in both feet (10-30% of the time if psoriasis is present).
  • Osteoarthritis: Usually only if rigid hammertoes are present.
  • Traumatic Arthritis: Only if a broken bone in this area.
  • Not Common: Gout

Check the other most common non-arthritis causes of big toe joint pain:

*Pain In The Small Toes Guide.*