What is arthritis of the big toe?
Joints are formed by two bones which are held close together by ligaments and an outer covering known as a joint capsule.
In order for the joints to move freely and without pain, the ends of the bones are covered in a softer material called cartilage and the lining of the joint capsule produces an oily substance / fluid called synovial fluid.
In arthritis, the cartilage starts to crack and erode, resulting in bone rubbing on bone.
As this is painful, extra bone is laid down at the edges of the joint to try and stop movement and thus symptoms.
This is why arthritic joints are often enlarged. When arthritis affects the big toe, it loses movement, becomes stiff and can cause pain, alter the way you walk and limit the heel height of the shoes you can wear. This condition is known as Hallux Limitus or Rigidus.