How to Recognize the Stages of Big Toe Arthritis

Big toe arthritis, also known as hallux rigidus, is a form of osteoarthritis. It’s a foot condition affecting the joint at the base of the big toe that typically results in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.

Fortunately, several types of treatment can help mitigate potential problems. Recognizing the stages of big toe arthritis enables you to begin treatment as early as possible, decreasing the likelihood of major problems.

What Is Big Toe Arthritis?

Big toe arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the big toe deteriorates, leading to bone-on-bone contact. This degeneration causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. It may progressively worsen over time. Early detection and treatment are vital to slowing the progression and maintaining mobility.

Identifying the Stages of Big Toe Arthritis

You can identify the following signs and symptoms of each stage to recognize the issue.

Stage one comprises mild symptoms. In the initial stage, the symptoms of big toe arthritis are relatively mild. You may experience slight discomfort and stiffness in the big toe, especially after physical activity or long periods of standing. There might be some swelling around the joint, but it is usually minimal.

As the condition progresses to the second stage, symptoms become more severe. Pain and stiffness in the big toe are more frequent and noticeable, especially during movement. Swelling and inflammation around the joint increase, and you may notice visible changes in the toe’s shape.

In the severe stage, the pain in the big toe becomes chronic and can occur even at rest. You may see a swollen joint and significant stiffness restricting toe movement. Bony growths, or osteophytes, may develop around the joint, causing further pain and deformity.

Stage four is about advanced symptoms. The final stage of big toe arthritis is characterized by constant, severe pain and a complete loss of joint mobility. The joint may become fused, leading to a rigid and immobile toe. You may need help performing everyday activities, such as walking, standing, and balancing.

Book Your Arthritis Treatment in Prescott, AZ

Recognizing the stages of big toe arthritis is important for seeking timely treatment and managing the condition effectively. If you are experiencing symptoms of big toe arthritis, call us at 928-777-9950 and schedule an appointment with Granite Orthopaedics.

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