Toes - Big Toe

Why Is My Big Toe So Stiff?

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

Did you know that your big toe is a big deal? It really is! The big toe bears about twice as much pressure when walking as the other toes and this joint takes 40-60% of the your body’s weight when maximum force is applied.

Your big toe also has quite a range of motion. Have you ever tried to pick things up with your big toe? Usually, you can! And gymnasts have their big toes to thank for some of their more impressive moves, thanks to it’s powerful gripping ability!

So when this hard-working member of your body starts to become stiff, it’s a problem! Stiffness in the big toe joint is called Hallux Limitus. This condition left untreated can lead to other problems and affect your walking.

What Causes Hallux Limitus?

Hallux limitus is caused by one of four things:

  •  Genetics
  •  Injury
  •  A long first metatarsal bone (or short second metatarsal)
  •  An elevated first metatarsal bone

Signs and Symptoms

  • Stiffness in the big toe with an inability to move toe well.
  • An enlargement that develops on top of the joint.
  • Swelling around the joint itself.
  • Pain in the joint when you are active, especially as you push-off on the toes when you walk.

Hallux Limitus Treatment

After a thorough examination and a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan will be created based on the severity of your condition.

For mild cases, over-the-counter measures such as shoe modifications, orthotics, physical therapy, and oral anti-inflammatory medications help reduce stiffness and ease the pain.Why is my big toe so stiff?

I might also suggest the RICE method to help manage symptoms, especially after rigorous exercise. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

For more severe cases, additional treatment steps are added, such as corticosteroid injections into the joint to reduce inflammation and swelling around the joints. We can also create custom functional orthotics to help reduce the reduce pain and improve function.

For severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary, but this is truly a last resort.

If you are looking for a podiatrist or you are experiencing ankle or heel problems, Sarasota or Bradenton is the place to be! Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday, Dr. Zdancewicz, or Dr. Goecker for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in our Bradenton Podiatry office at (941) 753-9599 or our Sarasota Podiatry office at (941) 366-2627.

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