Big toe arthritis – known as hallux rigidus – is when the big toe joint is affected by arthritis, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle SocietyOff Site Icon (AOFAS).
For most people, symptoms start with pain in the big toe while they are being active – especially when pushing off to walk, according to the AOFAS. Joint swelling, joint stiffness, and being unable to bend the toe up or down also are symptoms for some people.
Sometimes a bump can form on top of the big toe and become sore from rubbing inside the shoes, according to the AOFAS.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from big toe arthritis, which usually happens to people between age 30 and 60, according to the AOFAS.
Pain that occurs at the big-toe base is the most common symptom. The pain is often worsened by heightened activity such as running, according to Arthritis-Treatment-and-Relief.com. You may also notice lack of mobility in the joint. Visible swelling can also occur around the joint, as well as a noticeable bump on top of the foot, explains the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Your health care provider can determine whether your joint cartilage has worn away, or if you have developed bone spurs, through examination and X-rays.
The symptoms of OA in the toe
Even in the early stages, arthritis in the toe can cause tenderness, achiness, and joint pain. You may also feel achiness or pain in other toes or the arch of your foot as you walk. Over time, you may even develop a burning sensation. An arthritic toe may ache after long periods of sitting or when you first wake up in the morning.
Overgrowth of the big toe bone can make it difficult or even impossible to bend your toe. This results in a stiff toe, also called hallux rigidus.