Big Toe Joint Pain

December 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Foot Conditions

Big Toe Joint Pain

As funny as Big Toe Joint Pain may sound it is actually a very painful condition for anyone who suffers from it. In fact, arthritis in the foot is most commonly found in the metatarsophalangeal joint which happens to be at the base of the Big Toe. The pain is most often associated with stiffness and as a result walking can become very difficult.

As with any joint, bones are covered with smooth cartilage. The cartilage can be disrupted through injury, excessive wear, or trauma. The result is often a rubbing of the bones and may cause bone spurs or other types of scar tissue to develop. The scar tissue can inhibit the Big Toe from bending naturally during walking and may even keep it from bending at all.

This condition is called Hallux rigidus and is common in adults as they enter middle age. No matter the cause, over time the results are much the same. The articular cartilage is damaged to the point that stress on the joint itself becomes a physical problem.

Those suffering from Big Toe Joint Paint may experience pain while active, while pushing off on the toes during walking, swelling, hard growths on the top of the foot, and complete stiffness in the Big Toe.

When caught early, the treatment for Hallux rigidus is quite easy. In its early stages sufferers may notice they are walking on the outside of the foot as they experience pain near the big toe. This alleviates the discomfort but is a sign there may be trouble ahead. A trip to the podiatrist is advised because if the joint pain and inflexibility continue to the point that a bone spur may develop on the top of the foot, the treatment can be more risky and the recovery painful and slow.

Podiatrists will perform a thorough exam of the the foot and look for signs of Hallux rigidus. X-rays are often used to try and locate the position and/or size of possible bone spurs and the amount of wear and tear in the joint itself. As a result a podiatrist can prescribe treatment.

In most cases, the usual anti-inflammatory medicines will reduce the swelling and help with the pain. Using ice and common sports remedies are also useful but cannot halt the progression of this condition. As with any foot condition wearing properly fitted shoes will drastically reduce the symptoms. The use of custom foot orthotics or arch supports will help support the foot and bring the entire foot into proper alignment therefore reducing excess pressure on the joint.

In severe cases of Hallux rigidus surgical treatment may be necessary and should be discussed with your physician. Regardless of the treatment options you seek, keep in mind that paying attention to complete foot health can stop many painful foot conditions from developing in the first place.

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