Arthritis in the toe joint: what now?

Stefan de Hert - Schoentechnoloog House of Feet

Stefan De Hert, Shoe technician

August 31th, 2022

Arthritis usually affects the joints in the hands, knees and hips, but it can occur in any part of the body that has joints – including the toes.

A number of different forms of arthritis can cause a sharp pain in the toes. Sometimes the cartilage between the bones wears away, leading to a deformation and crookedness of the toes.

Pain, stiffness and swelling

Most patients feel pain in the joint when they are active, especially when they are walking or running. It often causes swelling around the big toe joint or difficulty moving and bending the toe. The famous ‘spur’ can develop at the top of the big toe joint and be made worse by friction against the inside of a shoe.

Hallux rigidus” is arthritis of the joint at the base of the big toe. It is the most common arthritic condition of the foot, affecting 1 in 40 people over 50.

Proper treatment after diagnosis

The diagnosis of arthritis in the toes starts with an anamnesis and a physical examination of the foot. An X-ray of the foot determines whether the joint is damaged or if the position of the bones in the foot has changed.

Arthritic changes to the joint are in fact irreversible. However, various treatment options are available to restore normal activity and reduce pain. In most cases, custom-made food pads with specific adaptations and a change of footwear make a big difference

Also with this pathology, it is of utmost importance to make a good and careful plaster cast of both feet. When making and caring for the lasts, we pay particular attention to ensuring that the toes have enough space in height and width.

Our solution is made of soft and high-quality materials, making sure the end result is light and comfortable footwear. With our own production workshop in Bruges, we offer patients with arthritis a pain-free walking experience again.


Stay informed via e-mail about our latest developments in footwear technology.