Arthritis in your big toe? Here’s what you should know

Biocorrect, LLC


Having arthritis in your big toe can make life hard. Even if you’re not a long-distance runner, arthritis pain can get so bad that sometimes it’s hard to be on your feet at all.

If you think you might have big-toe arthritis or know you have it and want treatment suggestions, keep reading.

Symptoms of arthritis in the big toe

Here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for if you think you might have arthritis:

  • Tenderness in your toe’s joints The word “arthritis” is an umbrella term that encompasses around 100 rheumatic illnesses and conditions, but all these conditions are likely to cause joint pain when left untreated.
  • Swelling Arthritic inflammation can cause swelling in the affected part of the body. If you have arthritis in your big toe, you may notice it — especially the joints — getting larger.
  • Bunions In some cases, arthritic inflammation in the big toe’s joint can create visible bumps, or bunions, on the side of the toe. Bunions can cause immense pain and pressure on the foot.
  • Difficulty walking Arthritis can prevent you from bending your big toe, so walking gets difficult. Whether you have arthritis or not, you should talk to a doctor if any foot pain makes walking painful or uncomfortable.

What to do if you think you have arthritis in your big toe

If you think you have arthritis in your big toe or another area of your foot, there are three things you should do:

Call a doctor

Contact your primary care doctor or schedule an appointment with a specialist in your area to discuss your problem. They’ll examine your big toe and may take X-rays to determine whether you have arthritis in your big toe.

They may also recommend physical therapy exercises, acupuncture or another treatment for pain relief.

Get a pair of arthritis-friendly shoes (or orthotics)

Certain types of shoes will increase inflammation and make your toe hurt worse. You’ll want to get a pair that provides plenty of cushioning and proper support so your already-inflamed toe doesn’t have to bear so much impact throughout the day. Ask your doctor if they’d recommend any specific pair or type of shoe.

You may also consider getting a set of orthotic inserts for your shoes, which we’ll discuss below.

3 ways custom orthotics can help with big-toe arthritis

Custom orthotics are shoe inserts shaped to the specifics of your foot to provide maximum cushioning and arch support.

We’re kind of biased because we provide custom orthotic solutions to our customers, but here’s why they’re particularly helpful for people with arthritis in their big toe:

1. Incomparable support Without proper support, you’re just going to put increased pressure on your foot, worsening inflammation. No matter how well your sneakers fit, they may leave space for your arches to buckle as you walk, increasing the inflammation in your big toe. Custom orthotics are designed to address this problem.

2. Joint protection Your toe joints are some of the smallest joints in your body, but they have to bear your entire body weight every time you stand up. Custom orthotics help redistribute your body weight across your entire foot, taking the pressure off your arthritic big toe.

3. Pain reduction While orthotics won’t eliminate all the pain associated with arthritis, they can be an important part of your larger treatment program. With your feet cushioned and your arches supported, you’ll likely notice a reduction in pain.

Interested in getting fitted for a pair of custom orthotics?

Contact us today for more information about our foot evaluation process or to schedule an initial appointment with one of our certified pedorthists.