Big Toe Pain

We have, in the past, talked about pain in the big toe. Turf toe is a condition that comes to mind. That is due to stress  on your toe joint from sports injuries.
If your big toe hurts and you have not been playing any sports, what does that mean?
Hallux Limitus


Hallux limitus is not a spell from the Harry Potter books although it really sounds like one. Your hallux is your big toe. Not surprisingly, hallux limitus is when your big toe hurts and the movement of the toe is limited.
The symptoms of start slowly and build. You may just notice a twinge here and there. Then you may notice that it hurts more often or you may notice a bump forming on the top of your foot right at the base of the big toe. 
CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE.  Photo courtesy of J. Lengerke
Symptoms of Hallux Limitus
1.      A feeling of that it is harder to move your toe
2.      Increased pain and stiffness in cold weather
3.      Pain when wearing shoes progressing to pain even when shoes are off
4.      Increased difficulty walking or running
5.      Changing your gait due to pain
6.      Development of bunions or bone spurs
Why is this happening?
Hallux limitus is a progressive arthritis condition. With this condition, the cartilage between where your big toe meets the bone in your foot has deteriorated. As the cartilage wears away, the movement of the joint causes more pain and bone spurs or a bunion may develop. 
This is another foot condition that can be blamed on genetics or injury. It could be that your foot’s bone structure pre-disposed you to having this condition. Or it could be that an injury to your big toe or repeated injuries have taken their toll on the cartilage. Chronic inflammatory diseases such as gout can also gradually wear down the joint. 
Is there a cure?
When you go see your friendly local podiatrist, the doctor will x-ray your toe joint to see how it looks. The information gained from the x-ray will help guide your treatment options. It could be, if the condition has not progressed very far that with orthotics, physical therapy, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications that you will feel much better. The treatment will depend on how the disease has progressed. 
Will it make a difference if I wait to go to the doctor?
Yes! Hallux limitus is a progressive condition. If you wait, it can progress to hallux rigidus, which is when your big toe stops moving completely.  At that point, your options move toward surgery.
So if your big toe hurts –
Go see your friendly local podiatrist. The doctor will be able to help you relieve your symptoms and get back to being comfortable. And even though is sounds like a Harry Potter spell, hallux limitus is very real and very painful. 
Your Pal,
Foot Blogger Chick
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