Did you know that one of the most common causes of chronic pain and swelling in the foot and ankle is due to arthritis? Similar to other joints in your body such as your hips or knees, small joints within your foot and even ankle can develop arthritis. Arthritis can be caused by previous trauma, chronic “wear and tear” or even systemic diseases.
One of the most common joint affected by arthritis in the foot is your big toe joint or your first metatarsophalangeal joint. A patient may experience pain in and out of shoe gear, swelling, redness, restricted range of motion at the big toe joint or even “clicking” or “crunching” in the joint. This arthritic condition is called Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus and unfortunately can often develop and worsen over time.
In addition to a thorough clinical examination by a foot and ankle specialist, Xrays taken in the office can help diagnosis this condition. Most often radiographs may show joint narrowing or bone spurs along the joint. Advanced imaging such as an MRI is usually not needed in this diagnosis. However, it is important to make sure these arthritic changes are not due to conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis or any other autoimmune inflammatory disease process.
Depending on the severity of the arthritis at your big toe joint, there are a few treatment options, including both surgical and non-surgical modalities. Non-surgical options include corticosteroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, custom molded orthotics and toe padding. Surgical options include a joint cleanup or joint resection, joint replacement or even fusion of the great toe joint.
If you think you might be experiencing Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus, come visit Complete Foot and Ankle and see what else can be done to help!