Your Aching Feet: 8 Signs of Arthritis in Toes


May is Arthritis Awareness Month, so Dr. Stuart Snyder and Dr. Sara Sharma of Maple Springs Foot Center, LLC decided that now is a perfect time to talk more about this common condition, particularly when it develops in the toe. 

Arthritis usually attacks joints in the hands, hips, and knees, but it can actually develop in any part of the body where joints exist, and that includes the toes. There are a number of different types of arthritis that can cause toe pain.

 What is Toe Arthritis?

This condition is caused by inflammation of the toe joint, and it frequently attacks the big toe, but others can be affected as well. Past traumas or injuries, such as a sprained or broken toe, can eventually cause arthritis.

 Risk factors for toe arthritis include age, weight, family history and consistently wearing improper footwear, such as high heels.

  1.  Pain: General pain in the toes or only the big toe is typically the first obvious symptom of arthritis. The pain is described as ranging from a deep, aching feeling to a sharper, piercing sensation when trying to move and can range from minor to severe.

  2. Stiffness: Arthritis slowly causes deterioration of the cartilage between joints and aggravates tissues, which can make joints stiff and difficult to move.

  3. Inflammation: All types of arthritis can cause irritation in the joint, which can result in noticeable swelling. The toes can turn red and feel warm when touched.

  4. Popping and Clicking Noises: As cartilage deteriorates, the bones can begin rubbing against each another, causing these sounds.

  5. Altered appearance: As bone scrapes against bone, the body attempts to relieve the situation by creating more bone, making it look larger, similar to bunions and hammertoes.

  6. Warmth: When inflammation causes more blood to travel to your toes, you may feel a sense of heat and redness in the area. This can be somewhat irritating, but it typically doesn’t affect daily activities.

  7. Locked joint: This can happen when there is so much inflammation and stiffness that the joint can no longer bend. It may feel like the toe is stuck, and it can be painful, but it is usually not permanent.

  8. Difficulty walking: You may find yourself altering your gait in an effort to put less weight on your toes, and those who suffer from arthritis in the big toe are especially vulnerable to immobility.

 If you are experiencing any of these signs of toe arthritis, don’t hesitate, contact the office of Dr. Stuart Snyder and Dr. Sara Sharma of Maple Springs Foot Center, LLC to schedule a checkup. There are treatments, physical therapy, and custom orthotics that can help you stay active and feel better. Call us today us at (301) 762-3338 to schedule an appointment or book it online.