An estimated 54.4 million American adults were told they had some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia between 2013 and 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Backention .
Arthritis can affect any part of the body where joints exist and your toes are not an exception. In fact, toe arthritis is very common and many people suffer from this painful problem.
In most cases, toe arthritis attacks the big toe, but the other toes could be affected as well. Big toe arthritis, also known as hallux limitus or hallux rigidus, occurs when the big toe moves upward or begins to form bone spurs, which limits the range of motion of the toe.
Your risk of big toe arthritis increases as you age. This is mostly due to wear and tear. The risk is also higher if you have a family history of it or if you are obese.
Big toe arthritis usually starts with a stiffness of the joint and can be accompanied by swelling and redness. Other symptoms include enlargement of the joint, pain, difficulty wearing certain shoes, difficulty walking (especially when you first wake up in the morning), associated deformity, and soft tissue irritation or inflammation.
It is not at all unusual for patients to confuse bunions with big toe arthritis because both conditions can cause pain and a bump and enlargement at the big toe joint. But they are actually very different.
Big toe arthritis is easier to treat when the condition is diagnosed early. There are many simple, natural home remedies to treat this problem and reduce the discomforts.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for big toe arthritis.
Both cold and warm water treatments, popularly known as hydrotherapy, can help reduce the discomforts of big toe arthritis.
While the warm water helps improve blood circulation in the affected area, the cold water helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
Caution: Be careful to avoid extreme temperatures in the water.
Apple cider vinegar is useful in relieving joint pain in the big toe due to arthritis. It helps remove the buildup of toxins in the joints and connective tissues, which is important to ease any kind of arthritic pain.
It also has anti-inflammatory and alkaline-forming properties that help reduce pain and stiffness in the joints.
Massaging the arthritis-affected big toe with some warm oil is another effective way to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Massage improves blood circulation and also encourages toxin drainage to reduce swelling.
Caution: If massaging causes more pain, stop doing it and consult a doctor.
To deal with any kind of arthritic pain, cayenne pepper is very effective.
It contains the compound capsaicin, which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help get rid of the pain and treat big toe arthritis.
Cayenne pepper may initially cause a burning sensation, but it will go away quickly.
Another common ingredient that can help treat arthritis in your big toe is ginger, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Moreover, ginger helps block COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain.
Turmeric is also effective for treating big toe arthritis. The compound curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and pain.
Caution: Avoid consuming too much turmeric if you take blood-thinning medications or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Acupuncture is very effective at easing the pain and other discomforts associated with big toe arthritis.
In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted in and around the big toe to relieve pain. This treatment can also promote mobility.
It is best to have acupuncture done by an expert who specializes in it. It may take a few sessions to reduce the pain and improve the mobility of your big toe.
Extra body weight adds stress to the bones in your feet and can lead to increased pain and inflammation associated with big toe arthritis.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent your joints from experiencing extra stress, thereby lessening the pain, improving joint functioning and reducing inflammation in the body. Fat itself is an active tissue that creates and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals.
If you are overweight, you must try to lose some weight. It is important to keep in mind that losing weight is not a race. Avoid crash diets. Instead, strive to lose weight by adopting a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine.
Regular exercise helps strengthen your bones and joints, including those in your toes. Exercise also keeps your joints limber and helps get rid of swollen feet.
Furthermore, exercise promotes better circulation, which in turn helps relieve inflammation and pain associated with big toe arthritis. It also improves mobility.
Last but not least, you must wear the right footwear to treat big toe arthritis. Poorly fitting shoes can lead to more swelling and pain in the affected area.
Choosing the right footwear can make a big difference. Wear properly fitted shoes that have plenty of room for your big toes.
If needed, wear a shoe with a large toe box to reduce pressure on the toe. Getting a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker or roller bottom design can also be beneficial, as such shoes help reduce the amount of bending in the big toes.
High heels, tight shoes, and pointy-toed shoes should be avoided at any cost. Also, do not wear tight-fitting socks or stockings.
Answered by Dr. Hai-En Peng (Podiatrist)
It can, if the bone spurring from the arthritis is significant enough to press on the surrounding nerves.
It can be to warm up the joint if the arthritis is minimal but there will come a point where even walking and other activities will become painful as the arthritis worsens.
Yes it can. It can cause spurring on top and the side of the foot making it hard to fit shoes. It can also cause the toe to become deformed pressing against other toes. If the arthritis is really severe, it can cause the great toe joint to not move and any micro motion of that degenerative joint causes severe pain.
Things that can help are custom molded orthotics, good fitting shoes, and NSAIDs. If the arthritis is already affecting other joints, a referral to rheumatology can help with systemic management of arthritis limiting its severity.
I haven’t personally seen banana consumption helping symptoms of arthritis. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and fiber, and good for people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular, and digestive issues.
Bananas are also good for maintaining electrolytes, which prevents muscle cramping. It also has good sugar content to help if you have low blood sugar. It is very important to increase your intake of antioxidants that can reduce the inflammation from arthritis. A healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and E can limit joint destruction.
Foods that contain a high content of sugar, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates can increase inflammation associated with arthritis and can worsen your symptoms.
Big toe joint arthritis can happen either 1 of 2 ways. It’s either due to how your feet is built via genetics that causes undue pressure on the big toe joint causing it to breakdown prematurely leading to arthritis. The other cause is you have an injury to the great toe joint causing it to heal unnaturally leading the joint to function poorly which in turns leads to arthritis.
Treatments available conservatively include icing, NSAIDs, cortisone injections, HA injections, PRP injections, good fitting shoes, and custom orthotics. When those modalities fail, surgery is often needed to remove the spurring around the joint.
At times the joint may need to replaced with implants called Cartiva or replaced fully with titanium components for the base of the great toe and the head of the metatarsal. If the implant fails to remove the pain from arthritis, a salvage procedure known as fusion is often done to eliminate movement of the great toe joint which eliminates the pain.
About Dr. Hai-En Peng, Podiatrist: was born in Nyack, NY and went to California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco, CA. He spent the next 4 years there and graduated in the top 15% of his class. also completed a 3-year advanced surgical residency in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.
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