I'm new to this board; I was just diagnosed yesterday with arthritis of the big toe. I'm wondering if anyone else here has this and can share their experiences, since I really know nothing about arthritis.
I'm not sure, but I think mine started last year after I jammed my toes hiking in the mountains for a week. It's just been getting steadily worse over the past year.
I'm taking Aleve per my doctor's recommendation, exploring whether an orthotic might help, and this weekend I'll be looking at shoes with stiff or rocker bottoms to help avoid flexing that big toe joint (shoes like Dansko, MBP and Skechers rocker bottoms).
If anyone has any ideas about types of exercise to do or to avoid, I'd appreciate that as well. I'm mainly a cyclist during the nice weather, but I like hiking as well as snowshoeing and x-country skiing. At the health club I mainly do the elliptical and spinning/exercise bike. I'm wondering if any of those activities will aggravate this.
Healing62body, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Two years post-surgery pain? Holy cow.
It's so sad to hear that you had to give up snowshoeing and cross-country skiing! I love both of those as well as hiking. It is hiking that gives me the most pain, particularly hills. Luckily my bicycling does not hurt me, I think that's mainly because my biking shoes (which have cleats) are extremely stiff and there's no flexing of my toe.
I went to a podiatrist yesterday and she took additional weight-bearing x-rays of my foot and toe. From what she said I would bet she'll be advocating for surgery (cheilectomy, bone spur removal) when I see her next week to review the x-rays. I think I'll get a second opinion from a sports medicine podiatrist in the area. My life is not in a good place for me to have surgery right now and if conservative measures can relieve some of the symptoms I'm comfortable waiting for some time.
I have also been reading a lot and found an interesting website of a California podiatrist who is a big advocate of conservative treatment to try to avoid surgery until it's absolutely necessary. I'm trying some of his suggestions such as spica taping of my toe, frequent icing, and avoiding all things that will aggravate my toe, such as stairs and using the elliptical machine at the health club. And I'll use my orthotic once it arrives in the mail.
You're right in that we have to simply deal with what life's given us and not rail against what we cannot change. I'm still getting to that acceptance stage -- but heck, I was never meant to be a mountain climber anyway.
This is all very helpful, thanks everyone. I have done more reading now too. It's a heck of a lot more serious than I thought it would be when I first heard the news from my doc on Monday.
Georgia888 -- It isn't gout per my doctor. But I did read about that. And I guess I'll have to take up swimming for exercise, which currently I find to be boring. But if I have to change, I will.
RubyJewel -- I am afraid of that foot surgery. Not being able to hike or, especially, bike for a year -- I will go nuts! Not to mention probably getting fat and my muscles wasting away. Still, my doc has it pegged as "moderate" with bone spurs that are making my second toe numb, so I definitely have to seriously consider surgery if more conservative measures don't provide enough relief. It's awful having pain with every step of my right foot, and it makes me walk funny and is thus hurting my knee and hip and back as well. What kind of surgery did you have, and how long before you could drive a car?
Bookcrazzzy -- I have read about something similar on a runners' forum, where a guy cut out most of the insole in his running shoe under the joint of his big toe. He said it allowed him to run pain-free because the toe didn't flex. I'm not a runner but I may experiment with one of my old pairs of running shoes that I use for the health club. The principle makes good sense to me.
Has anyone used the X 1 Blade orthotic for hallux rigidus made by Indiana Brace? I did order one of those to see if it would help, at least with daily walking.
Thanks again everyone for sharing your thoughts and insights. Please let me know if you have any other ideas for me to think about. JudyView Thread