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Experiencing pain with redness and swelling in toe. Suffering from severe osteoporosis. Advise?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 150 Questions
Hello doctor. I am 57 yo woman who is experiencing pain, with minimal redness and minimal swelling at the lower half of my 3rd (middle) toe just above the area where it intersects the metatarsals(?). There may be a tiny amount of swelling in the 4th toe, but negligible, if any. There is sharp shooting pain when I put weight on it that radiates throughout the lower foot area and toes. I have no recollection of injury to this toe. It began yesterday afternoon at which time there was no obvious swelling or discoloration. This morning, there was slight swelling and a reddening at the lower half of the toe. I am able to move the toe without a significant amount of pain. However, when attempting to bear weight (particularly when flexing to step down), I experience the sharp shooting pain. The interesting thing to note is that this exact same thing happened to my 4th toe (same foot) a few months ago. I do suffer from severe osteoporosis and was a bit concerned that it may be related in some manner (hopefully not!). I have read a number of articles and posts, but none (thus far) seem to match what I am experiencing. I have not participated in any recent sports and have not been to the gym (home gym area has been under construction for several months now). I am retired due to spinal stenosis and also wondered if that may play some part? I hope this is sufficient information to enable you to provide me with some idea of likely causes. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. Respectfully, XXXX
Posted Fri, 18 Oct 2013 in Arthritis
Answered by Dr. Moustafa Saeed 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Details below

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thank you for your question.

The 1st option which needs to be excluded is stress fracture in one of the bones in your toe/foot which is common in osteoporosis patients, especially if you did long walk recently. this usually heals within 4-6 weeks.

2nd option is soft tissue inflammation around in the toe, which should settle with anti-inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen for few days if no contraindication to it.

3rd option is mild arthritis in the toe, which should also respond quickly to rest and anti-inflammatory tablets for few days only.

Your spinal condition should not be related.

X-ray of the foot will be recommended if no improvement within 10 days.

So, if you have no improvement with the painkillers, you should consult your orthopedic and get yourself examined to rule out the cause and then decide on the further action.

Hope I have answered your question adequately, please write back to me if you have concerns.

Wish you speedy recovery.
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Follow-up: Experiencing pain with redness and swelling in toe. Suffering from severe osteoporosis. Advise? 1 hour later
Thank you very much.
Answered by Dr. Moustafa Saeed 15 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
You welcome
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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