Big Toe Joint Pain
Do you suffer from the painful big toe joint pain? Well then you are on the right address. The human body consists of many areas that would be considered and defined to be a joint. By definition a joint in the human body is an area where two bones come close to each other in proximity. In addition, the bones that come together to form the joint are held together by ligaments and the muscles are held to the bone by tendons.
In addition, within the joints there is a buffer layer called cartilage that prevents the bones from rubbing together. Examples of jointed areas could include the elbow, shoulder, knee and hips. Additionally, if an individual is experiencing pain in their joints, due to a number of reasons, they certainly feel this pain due to the fact that the body is designed to be mobile and this is allowed by the various joints.
Another jointed area, in the foot is the big toe. If a painful medical condition arises in this particular joint it can be significantly excruciating.
Therefore, a discussion about big toe joint pain would be in order to find out what in particular can causes pain in this joint and what are some treatment options.
What Causes Big Toe Joint Pain
Pain in the joint area of the big toe or hallux can be caused by a number of medical conditions. The most common pain in the big toe joint is the condition of arthritis. An arthritic condition is due to the fact that there is damage with the cartilage that is between the bones that comprise the joint. This particular joint is called metatarsophalangeal. The damage to the cartilage, in any joint, is generally due to excessive wear, lack of the proper dietary nutrients, trauma or injury. This damage to the cartilage eventually leads to the point where the bones are rubbing against each other which causes the arthritic condition and the pain.
In addition to the possibility of an arthritic condition, any damage to this joint can result in the formation of a bone spur. A bone spur is simply the formation of a small bit of bone on to another bone of the body. Additionally, there may be the formation of scar tissue due to an injury which may restrict the joint from operating normally. If a bone spur develops in the big toe joint of an individual this also can be very painful.
This may further develop into a condition known as hallux rigidus. This is a perfect description of a joint that has become rigid and has lost its flexibility.
The first part of any treatment process is to be properly diagnosed. Therefore, with the experiencing any big toe joint pain it is important to see a doctor and then possibly being referred to a podiatrist. As part of the medical exam, the podiatrist will probably order a radiograph or x-ray to determine what the problem or condition is. Following the x-ray of the toe area, a diagnosis will in all eventualities be able to be made.
Because the joint is inflamed, due to the rubbing together of the bones because of the loss of cartilage, an anti-inflammatory medication will probably be prescribed. In addition, temporary relief may be attained through the use of cold compresses and topical medications. However, it is important to note that these are just temporary measures to alleviate the symptoms, but will not alleviate the problem causing the pain.
Also, it is important that proper footwear be utilized. Therefore, it is important not to wear tight fitting shoes, but shoes that are loose and fit comfortably. In addition, to help relieve the pressure off of the big toe joint, orthopedic shoes may be indicated as well as utilizing arch supports. Through these two practical methods, the pressure being experienced by the big toe joint may be relieved somewhat.
Other Treatment Methods
Other treatment methods that may be indicated include the possibility of having steroids injected into the joint area. This will help reduce the inflammation that is being experienced and the resulting pain.
Finally, as a last possibility, surgery may be indicated. Of course, this type of response would need to be discussed with one’s orthopedic surgeon.
A number of surgical procedures may be indicated. One such surgical procedure would be the surgical process of going into the big toe joint and “trimming” the joint area and cleansing it from any substance that exacerbates the problem. This particular procedure is called a cheilectomy.
Also, as part of the surgical procedure, there may be the decision to re-shape the proximal end of the phalanx. This procedure would help to reduce the friction that is being created and causing the big toe joint pain.
Another option that is available surgically is to fuse together the bones that make up the joint. The benefits of this operation are that it will eradicate the big toe joint pain. However, the joint will never regain its flexibility.
Finally, one other option that is available with today’s cutting-edge surgical procedures is to replace the joint. This particular procedure has shown great promise. However, there are still challenges associated with this procedure in that even an artificial joint may wear out in time and cause further big toe joint pain.