Common Symptoms of Toe Joint Pain - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Toe joint pain is not something all people with arthritis suffer with, but for some it can be the first sign of the condition. The condition more commonly attacks the joints in your hands, knees and hips but it can happen at any part of the body where joints exist. This means the toes can be effected and toe joint pain is a common feature of this.

A number of different types of arthritis can cause toe joint pain. The cartilage commonly wears away from the bones and without this, the bones rub together. This in turn inflames the tissue and causes the swelling and related pain.

What is Toe Arthritis?

Arthritis and toe joint pain happens when the toe joint becomes inflamed. The disease most commonly attacks the big toe but it can affect the other digits as well. Past injuries including trauma and broken digits can also result in arthritis in the future. The most common causes of toe joint pain are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Risk factors in the development of toe arthritis include:

  • Family history
  • Being overweight
  • Increased age

Symptoms of Toe Arthritis

The most common symptoms of toe arthritis include:


Pain is the most noticeable symptom of arthritis. Most people will initially feel general pain in their big toe although it may spread to other toes. The pain people experience is unique to them, but it tends to range from a deep, aching feeling to sharper, stabbing sensation when you try to move or walk. The pain may get worse when you move or when inflammation increases.


Arthritis is typified by inflammation. This means swelling of the joint will happen and it is usually visible swelling. Toes may also feel warm to touch and redden in colour.

Stiffening Sensation

Arthritis wears away the cartilage between the joints and also inflames tissues. It can damage synovial fluid too and all of these changes make the joints difficult to move and increase stiffness.

Change in Appearance or Position

Toes effected by arthritis may swell in size. They may also start to rotate or turn away from the usual position of your foot. Changes such as these are further indications of toe arthritis.

Clicking and Popping

The toe may start making sounds like the sound that happens when you crack your knuckles. Some people also report a grinding sound as the bones rub together.

Further Information about Toe Joint Pain

Dr Stephanie Barrett is a consultant rheumatologist who works with patients with many different types of arthritis. If you are suffering with toe joint pain an appointment with Dr Barrett is a chance to discuss your symptoms and find the right treatment plan. 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.