The two most common causes of arthritis of the big toe joint are biomechanical and traumatic arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis (ie rheumatoid) can occur but tends to be widespread through the body. Gouty arthritis is more common cause of arthritis in the big toe joint.
Traumatic arthritis occurs after the joint is injured, leading to further degeneration. Fractures that involve the joint have a high incidence of future arthritis. Injury to the cartilage can also spark the degeneration process. Sprain and strains have been known to also lead to joint degeneration. Biomechanical arthritis occurs from structural problems within the foot that lead to premature ‘wear and tear’ on the joint. Shoe gear can also play a role in arthritis development. Arthritis usually develops slowly over time, with periodic flare ups until a critical point is reached resulting in ongoing pain and discomfort.