One of the most common places someone might think you can get arthritis is in your knees, hips, or spine. However, believe it or not, you can actually get arthritis in your feet too! 

Arthritis is a condition where the normal joint cartilage wears down, joint space narrows, and bone starts to rub on bone. Whereas, a non-arthritic joint, has good joint space, smooth cartilage that allows the joint to glide, and space between the two bone surfaces. When the bones of a joint start to grind on each other, this leads to pain caused by arthritis. 

These arthritic changes can also occur in the joints of the foot. One of the most common places it can occur in the feet is in the big toe joint. Arthritic changes can occur in any joint and cause inflammation. 

Symptoms of arthritis are inflammation, stiffness, decrease in range of motion, and pain in a joint. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are treatment options available to help alleviate the pain and relieve symptoms. With proper treatment, many people are able to manage pain and get back to the activities they love to do. 

Conservative Treatment Options

Initial treatment for arthritis consists of conservative treatment options which are available for patients to help decrease their pain. Some conservative treatment options include:

  • Lifestyle modification – depending on which joint in your foot has arthritis, you can modify your activities to take pressure off of the symptomatic joint

  • Shoe gear modification – choosing the correct shoes for your foot type and pathology can help decrease your level of pain because your foot is being supported in the areas it needs

  • Orthotics – orthotics can be used to give the arthritic joints the stability and support they need to decrease motion across the joint

  • Cortisone Injections – This can be used to decrease inflammation directly in the affected joint. 

  • Braces – Bracing the arthritic joints can help minimize the motion through the joints and help alleviate pain.

Surgical Treatment Options

Should conservative treatment not provide adequate relief, surgical treatment may be recommended. 

  • Arthroscopic Debridement – This surgery may be helpful in the early stages of arthritis. Debridement (cleansing) is a procedure to remove loose cartilage, inflamed synovial tissue, and bone spurs from around the joint.

  • Arthrodesis – This surgery is typically done in later stages of arthritis. Arthrodesis fuses two bones together. The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain by eliminating motion across the joint. By removing the joint, the pain disappears. 

At Serenity Foot and Ankle Specialists, we will always discuss all of your treatment options with you and come to a decision about treatment together. 

If you are having big toe pain, call (847) 380-3700 for an appointment today!