Early in its development, arthritis may appear as a slight swelling at the the joint and may not be painful. However, as the problem progresses, the lump becomes larger and more prominent. This causes pain, localized tenderness and limitation of motion, and results in permanent deformation.
Patients with arthritis of the great toe joint may have to alter the pattern in which they walk to compensate for the discomfort and lack of flexibility they experience. This change in propulsion can lead to knee, hip and back pain due to the formation of an unnatural stride.