Arthritis pain in the big toe can be relieved through medication, injections, lifestyle changes, exercise, devices and surgery, reports Healthline. Arthritis in the foot shows up most often in the base of the big toe, which, under normal circumstances, should bend with every step, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states.
Some over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen, reduce pain and stiffness, according to Healthline and AAOS. Ice packs bring relief for short periods of time, as do contrast baths, AAOS recommends. The affected foot is placed in cold water for 30 seconds, and then it is immediately put in hot water for half a minute. This process is repeated for five minutes with a final cold soak.
The proper choice of shoes helps with pain relief. High heels are avoided, and toes of shoes should be roomy, says Healthline. Inserts and arch supports often help, as well. Physicians sometimes advise wearing orthotics or shoes with stiff soles and rocker bottoms. Patients should also consider modifying their diets if they are overweight, as extra weight puts more pressure on the feet.
Physical therapists or doctors propose exercises and stretches, Healthline reports. Prescription medications help if OTC drugs do not. Steroid injections are appropriate for some people. Severe toe arthritis sometimes requires surgery to fuse the joint or replace it with an implant.