Best Treatments for Foot and Toe Degenerative Joint Disease

Published: 24th August 2010
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Did you know there are over 50 different types of arthritis? They can be classified into three categories:

1. Inflammatory- for example rheumatoid arthritis

2. Metabolic- for example gout

3. Non-inflammatory- for example degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) has several different names, for example osteoarthritis (OA), wear and tear or degenerative disc disease (DDD) are all commonly used but I think degenerative joint disease describes the condition best.

Anyway foot and toe degenerative joint disease is simply a wearing of the cartilage (the cushioning material inside the joint) so eventually, in severe cases, bone rubs on the bone. This can happen in any of the small joints within the foot but is most common in the big toe joint. Now obviously that is painful but did you know it is probably NOT the only cause of the pain and/or the stiffness you are suffering from if you have foot and toe degenerative joint disease?


In most cases the wearing of the joint is not the only cause of pain for a sufferer of foot and toe degenerative joint disease.

The muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot can give pain too. This happens because as the joints becomes worn they hurts and that means that you tend not to move the foot so much and you compensate by using the ankle, knee, hip and low back more. Also when you do move your foot you tend to limit the movement. The problem with that is that the ligaments, muscles and tendons (collectively known as the soft tissue) around the joint become irritated by not being used. These include the muscles in your lower leg as well.

Soft tissue likes to be used and so it actually become inflamed with lack of use which gives rise to pain and stiffness when they are used. (If you are unsure about this just ask anyone who has fractured a bone how painful it is to get the soft tissue moving again after being in a cast for a while). This inflammation is also painful and so the foot is used even less.

The end result is a rapidly downwards spiral as the foot gets stiffer and stiffer and more and more painful as it is used it less and less. This is how your foot and toe degenerative joint disease can quickly take control of your life.


The Arthritis Foundation says that

"Treatment of degenerative joint disease varies with the severity of the symptoms and focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement."

There are lots of different ways they suggest you do this by using drugs, rest, physical activity, joint protection (splints and supports), use of heat and cold to reduce pain plus physical therapy.

So master all these and you will have learnt how to control your foot and toe degenerative joint disease symptoms!

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