If you have been having issues with pain or swelling in your big toe, then arthritis is the most likely root cause. Since there are many treatments for podiatric arthritis, if you have any of these five common signs, then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor or a local podiatrist:
Arthritis Sign #1: The Toe's Joint Makes a Lot of Noises
When your big toe's joint is just starting to develop arthritis, you may notice that it makes a lot of popping and crunching noises when you walk. While some joint noises are normal, an excessively noisy toe joint is often a symptom of podiatric arthritis setting in.
Arthritis Sign #2: The Toe Joint is Red or Warm to the Touch
Arthritis in a toe joint will often cause it to swell up and turn red. The inflamed joint will sometimes even feel warm to the touch. While you may be concerned about an infection, the heat is actually caused by the increased blood flow to the toe and isn't a concern as long as it doesn't stay warm for an extended period of time.
Arthritis Sign #3: Your Toe Looks Deformed or Crooked
When arthritis takes hold in your big toe's joint, then it will cause the toe to form bone spurs or the joint to lose its alignment. By comparing the big toes on each of your feet to each other, you will often be able to see the damage caused by arthritis.
Arthritis Sign #4: Your Toe's Joint Sticks and Hurts
If you find yourself flexing your big toe a lot to unstick its joint, then this is a sure sign of advanced podiatric arthritis. When the toe's joint becomes inflamed or too damaged, then it will freeze-up in the extended position. Moving your toe up and down will often unstick the joint, but it can be painful.
Arthritis Sign #5: A Difference in the Way You Walk or Exercise
Finally, if you have noticed a difference in the way you walk or run, then this is a sure sign that your big toe may have developed a problem with arthritis. For example, if you often avoid walking or exercising because of foot pain or if you notice that you are limping and movement is making your lower back sore, then you should seek medical help. Once your doctor or podiatrist has properly diagnosed the problem with your toe, then they can offer suggestions for improving your gait and mobility.