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!


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.


  • 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.



  • 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).

  • 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).




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.*