Arthritis: What's Causing Your Unexplained Toe Pain?

Posted on: 29 December 2016


When your feet ache or feel sore, it's most likely due to standing on your feet all day. But if your toes hurt, you may wonder why and what you can do about it. Toe pain can occur from several things, including wearing tight shoes that pinch your toes. Your toes may also hurt if you have arthritis in their joints. Here's what you should know about arthritic toe pain and what you can do to treat it.  

How Does Arthritis Affect Your Toes?

Arthritis is a disease that can affect any body tissue with joints, including your feet and toes. There are different types of arthritis that develops in the feet, including rheumatoid (RA) and gout. RA develops when your immune system attacks the tissues that cover or line your joints. Your toes tend to curl and stiffen up from RA, as well as develop growths called bunions on their skin.

Gout occurs when special acids deposit on your joints. When gout develops in your feet, it tends to show up in the great toe first before moving to other tissues. Your big toes swell up and become very painful over time. Because gout can enlarge your great toe, you can have problems wearing shoes and socks comfortably.

To find out if you have arthritis in your toes, see a pain management specialist. 

How Do You Treat Your Toe Pain?

Before a pain management doctor checks you for arthritis, they may examine your toes to see if they have any injuries that can cause pain, such as torn ligaments or bone fractures. Some injuries can develop in the thick tissues situated deep within your feet and affect your toe joints by spreading inflammation to them.

Plantar fasciitis is one condition that could potentially affect your toes. Taking pain medications and wearing protective shoe inserts may ease plantar fasciitis discomfort. Other injuries can develop in the tiny joints of the toes, such as cracks and breaks. To repair the damage, a doctor may splint the injured toe to help it heal. 

If a doctor doesn't find the problems mentioned above, they can check you for arthritis. A doctor may use X-rays to see if your joints look disjointed, misshapen or inflamed. If you have arthritis in your toes, you may take anti-inflammatory medications to treat them. Soaking your feet in warm water may help ease the discomfort at home. If none of these treatments work, surgery may be an option to correct or stabilize your joints.

For more information about your toe pain, contact a pain management specialist or visit this page today.