Dr. Anderson Identifies Toe Arthritis Symptoms

Recognizing toe arthritis symptoms helps patients to seek timely medical care.

toe arthritis

We take our ability to walk for granted until pain slows down our steps. After the age of 50, approximately 40 percent of us will experience pain when we walk. But unless we recognize what’s causing our pain, we can’t take steps to correct it. Chances are, the culprit is toe arthritis.

Why do toe arthritis symptoms develop?

“We don’t know why some people develop toe pain and others don’t,” admits foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Michael Anderson. “Toe arthritis symptoms may result from an injury that damages the articular cartilage. An inherited foot anatomy that increases stress on the joint could be another factor. We do know that we usually see the onset of toe arthritis symptoms in adults between the ages of 30 and 60.”

Many people don’t know enough about the symptoms to connect them to arthritis. “There are a variety of effective treatments for toe arthritis symptoms,” notes Dr. Anderson. “Appropriate procedures can significantly improve quality of life. But if people don’t recognize symptoms and seek treatment, relief remains elusive.”

Toe arthritis symptoms

  • “One of the first symptoms that people notice is achiness in the big toe with activity,” says Dr. Anderson. “There might be a feeling of stiffness and an inability to bend the big toe up or down. This pain may be particularly apparent early in the morning, or as people push off with the toes when walking.”
  • “A sensation of grinding bones in the toe joint is another flag,” Dr. Anderson continues. “As cartilage degrades, the bones lose their protective buffer. Eventually, bone is going to rub on bone, and you will feel it.”
  • Frequently, toe arthritis symptoms include swelling around the toe joint.
  • A bump on the top of the foot is an indication that a bone spur is developing. “These bumps have the appearance of a bunion or callus,” notes Dr. Anderson. As the condition progresses, this bump can lead to trouble wearing shoes. It may restrict toe motion and prevent the toe from bending. At this point, we are talking about functional impairment that prevents you from doing the things you want to do.”

Taking the first step to pain relief

“When you notice a bump on the top of the big toe joint or feel pain, it’s time to come in and see me,” says Dr. Anderson. “A consultation doesn’t mean automatic surgery. There are nonoperative options to consider, including anti-inflammatory medications and injections. These treatments can’t make arthritis better or make it go away. But if someone is going on a vacation or has a buddy coming in for a visit, we can make their toe feel better. We can also do footwear modifications. There are shoe inserts designed to decrease motion across the big toe.

“I’ll use nonsurgical treatments whenever possible,” states Dr. Anderson. “But they don’t work for everyone. Only when all noninvasive options fail will we talk about surgical options. My job is to design treatment that gives you the relief you need to get back to the activities you love.”

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  • Michael Anderson, D.O.

    “Foot and ankle problems affect people from all walks of life. Whether your goal is to get back to competitive sports, live a more active life, resume work or enjoy time with family and friends, I’m here to help.”

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