inflammation of arthritic lumps on big toes

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I've had osteoarthritis in my big toes for over 10 years now and, as is it's want, it's getting worse.  Now it's so bad that wearing any type of shoe is very painful.

The main reason it is so very sore is that the bony lumps are swollen, red and inflamed.  Does anyone know why this happens?  I haven't changed my footwear at all.  I'm worried that it means that the arthritis is progressing even further

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  • Posted

    Hi Lesley.  Arthritis is a progressive disease and unfortunatelly there is little you can do about it.  I am not sure what you mean by bony lumps but usually those are deformed joints and/or bunions.  Joints can be fused but it is the last resort surgery as fusing one joint will cause more pressure on the other joints and you are likely to develop Arthritis in new joints.  Fusion is usually performed when the patient can no longer tolerate pain.  I have had several joints fused in my foot and my toes and it was a very painful recovery but it gave me 10 years with much less pain so far so it was very worth it.  I had another fusion surgery (much smaller this time as it was only my toe and fore foot reconstruciton to shorten the bones in my foot to take presure of arthritic joints) recently and 9 weeks post surgery I am still not able to wear normal shoes due to pain and swelling at all but my foot looks straight and has no more bony growths so I am really happy with the results. 

    So if your pain is too much perhaps you should consider being assessed by a good orthopeadic surgeon who specialises in feet.  Fusing joints is not as simple as it sounds as they have to be set at a correct angle so you can walk ok afterwards.  Hope this helps a little.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Mishe55.  Yes, I meant bunion type lumps at the base of my big toes.  They are very tender and inflamed at the minute.  Usually they just ache when I walk but now every shoe I have puts pressure on them an it hurts like hell.

      My GP has mentioned fusion but wants to wait until I can no longer work with the pain as he says that fusion can actually make things worse and I'm young to have that sort of op (he claims that it my make me hobble!  But I'm not far from that now).  I just wondered if the swelling on top of the bunions is an indication that things are getting worse

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  • Posted

    Hi Lesley

    the swelling does mean that the arthritis is active and it indicates inflamation

    This often can be treated with untinflamatory medications (oral and topical/creams) if you can take them 

    youir GP is right to tell you to delay the surgery as long as possible but the comment about possible hobbling is pretty negative (with a good surgeon this kind of result is pretty unlikely).  If I was you I would find a good foot surgeon and talk to him/her.  They will be able to explain the risks and consequences of the surgery.  Your age is definitely a factor as any orthopeadic surgery which involves joints has consequences later so it is often a matter of choosing the lesser devil.  I mean your current pain versus the later possible conseqences of surgery (which almost always is more arthritis in more joints),  Having said that I had my first orthopeadic surgery at the age of two and a half and several more after that and I am greateful I did as it made my life much better.  Those are decisions which have to be made based on your circumstances and good understanding of what surgical intervention means so my advise would be to talk to a specialist as suffering too much will effect the quality of your life;  your work,  your relationships,  your social life and those are often too high prices to be paid when having surgery could buy you many years of more comfortable life.

    However,  you need to be realistic,  the surgery to help allieviate pain of arthritis does not stop the disease.

    I wish I could be totally positive but  

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  • Posted

    sorry Lesley,  pressed the wrong button

    I wish I could be totally positive but I believe that one needs to be realistic

    The surgery is helpful and in some circumstances it is actually great but it cannot stop Arthritis in other parts of your body (once the joint is fused it does stop hurting as it does not move any more so that is a huge improvement in that particular joint).  Recovery from orthopeadic surgeries is slow and painful but once you are over it it is usually great improvement,  at least it has been in my lfie.

    All the best,  keep me posted

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