Big Toe Joint Arthritis Symptoms, Treatment and Pictures


Big Toe Joint Arthritis Overview

Arthritis of the big toe joint is a common condition that causes stiffness, swelling and pain. The medical term for the big toe is “hallux” and hallux rigidus is common medical terms that is associated with end stage arthritis of this joint.  For normal function of this joint, approximately 60-90 degrees of upward motion (Dorsifiexion) is needed.  Limited motion of this joint is termed “hallux limitus” and with limited motion, the foot does not propel the body forward properly, leading to jamming of the joint and end stage arthritis or hallux rigidus.


Symptoms of Big Toe Joint Arthritis

  • Pain with movement (achy / sharp pain)
  • Bone spur development
  • Bump on top of the joint
  • limited motion to the joint


Causes of Big Toe Joint Arthritis

  • Genetic or Overuse
  • Trauma
  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Flatfoot


Diagnosis of Big Toe Joint Arthritis

  • Clinical evaluation / range of motion testing
  • X-ray (Bone spur formation around the joint)


Treatment of Big Toe Joint Arthritis

  • Shoe gear modification (to take off pressure from the area) shopping cart
  • Rocker bottom shoes shopping cart
  • Stiff soled shoes (to limit motion to the joint) shopping cart
  • Custom orthotics (with Morton extension / reverse Morton extension) shopping cart
  • Cortisone injection (decrease inflammation)
  • Hyaluronic Acid injection (to lubricate the joint)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Topical pain relieving gel Abductor hallucis muscle strain


Surgical Treatment of Big Toe Joint Arthritis

  • Cheilectomy ( clean up the joint)
  • Decompression osteotomy of the joint (decompress the joint / increase joint space)
  • Implant arthroplasty ( partial / complete implant of the joint)
  • Fusion of the joint


Picture of Big Toe Joint Arthritis