Nonsurgical treatment options for arthritis in the toes include anti-inflammatory and pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, and pads or shoe insoles, according to WebMD. Surgical treatment options include arthroplasty, cheilectomy and arthrodesis, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
In addition to anti-inflammatory and pain medications, patients should also apply ice packs to arthritic toes, states the AAOS. Patients may also create a contrast bath, which allows patients to alternate between hot and cold water, to reduce swelling and inflammation. Daily stretches, such as toe curls, toe pulls and big-toe stretches, also reduce pain and discomfort, claims WebMD.
Patients should also purchase comfortable footwear with low heels and wide toe boxes, according to the AAOS. Arch supports, pads and rubber soles reduce pain when walking and standing.
Since arthritis typically worsens over time, surgery for arthritis provides long-term relief for swelling and inflammation in the toes as compared to over-the-counter pain medications, ice therapy and daily stretches, reports the AAOS. Arthroplasty provides patients with new toe joints, while cheilectomy involves removing part of the foot bone to make it easier for patients to bend the toes. Arthrodesis involves fusing bones together at the joint to prevent toes from bending.