Understanding Arthritis in Toe Joints - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Arthritis commonly attacks smaller joints in the body and this includes the toes. Arthritis in toe joints can be extremely painful and can lead to swelling and deformation over time. Toe arthritis is caused by the toe joint becoming inflamed.

Injuries and trauma can lead to the development of arthritis in toe joints, but it can also be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or conditions such as gout.

Tell-Tale Signs of Arthritis in Toe Joints

There are many signs of arthritis in toe joints but the following are the most common. Experience any of the below problems then contact a specialist or your GP as the first port of call:


As with many medical conditions pain is often the first symptom. The big toe is usually most effected by arthritis but other joints can be painful too. Pain may range from a deep, uninterrupted ache to sharper stabbing sensations, and any pain should be looked into.


Inflammation causes joints to become stiff. Arthritis wears away the cartilage between joints and will inflame tissues as well as damaging the synovial fluid. Your toe joints may become stiff and difficult to use. It can lead to mobility problems so should be discussed with medical professionals as soon as possible.

Unusual Sounds

Some patients suffer what they describe as clicking and popping noises from the joints. The sounds may be similar to the cracking of knuckles. Others also experience a grinding sound which can be a sign of the cartilage deteriorating.


Swelling is a common side effect of inflammation. Visible swelling may be present as the inflammation spreads and toes may redden too. Swelling often occurs after time spent sat still or sleeping and it can make putting shoes on difficult too.

Arthritis in toe joints is unfortunately quite a common condition but this means specialists have experienced in treating it. Managing the pain and other symptoms may involve several medical professionals but the right plan is possible.

Making an appointment

If you would like to find out more or to make an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett please call 020 7730 8508 or make an appointment here.

You can arrange an appointment with consultant rheumatologist Dr Stephanie Barrett to discuss your condition today.