Never underestimate the power of a little joint to cause big problems. But that’s what can happen to senior citizens suffering from big toe joint pain — often as a result of arthritis — which can not only sour the mood and lessen quality of life, but raises the risk of falling and in many cases proves disabling, according to Alan Berman, DPM, of Somers (N.Y.) Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, PLLC (somersortho.com).
Most people associate arthritis with the “big” joints such as the knees and hips. But arthritis, which afflicts an estimated 46 million adults in the United States and 50% of those over age 65, comes in many forms, two of which are specific to the big toe joint and are hardly rare. In a 2009 study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, about 16% of people reporting symptoms of disabling foot pain identified the big or “great” toe as the source of their woes.