There are cartilages in the body’s joints that give the stature and allow the bones of the skeleton to slide towards each other. Osteoarthritis causes an imbalance between the degradation and the structure of the cartilage.

The reason why you can get osteoarthritis in the big toe is usually unknown, but the risk increases after injuries.

When you have osteoarthritis in the base of the big toe, the second outermost joint, it is also called rigid big toe, or hallux rigidus.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs after the age of 50 and up. More women than men get it.

Read about hallux valgus and joint pain.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the big toe

The trouble comes creeping and the big toe gets stiff, swollen and hurts as you walk. If you suddenly get a toe pain, it is usually not due to osteoarthritis.

Treatment of osteoarthritis in the big toe

You can be helped by having a thick and slightly stiff sole on the shoe. This means that the trail does not move as much as you walk and then it hurts less. You can find shoes with heavy soles in a regular shoe store. 

If you have problems with good shoes, an orthopedic technician can try out or make a special sole.

Sometimes you can get a cortisone syringe in the aching joint.

You may need surgery if you have major problems. An operation can be done in different ways. The most common is that you get to operate the joint, which results in the pain decreasing or disappearing. After the operation, you do not usually experience any major problems because the joint has become immobile as the osteoarthritis has already made the joint quite motionless before. You will have local anesthesia during the operation and can go home the same day. It is common for you to wear a so-called treatment shoe for eight weeks.

You can take painkillers 24 hours a day after surgery. You may need to be on sick leave for one or a few weeks after the operation if you have an office job. If you have a heavier job, you need to be on sick leave for a little longer.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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