The joint at the base of the big toe takes a beating each day. It has to bend with each step you take, gets jammed when you make quick stops or twisting motions, and deals with added stress when placed in high -heeled shoes.
While occasional pain in the big toe joint may occur from the daily grind, constant pain in the big toe joint could be a warning sign of a progressive, arthritic condition known as “hallux rigidus”. “Hallux refers to the big toe, and “rigidus “ indicates that the toe is rigid and cannot move. In the early states, when movement is only somewhat restricted, it is sometimes called “hallux limitus”. This joint stiffness gets worse over time, making it difficult for you to walk or stand for long periods of time.
Hallux rigidus may run in the family but can also be caused by repetitive stress from workplace or sports activities. Tradesmen who crouch and stoop a lot and avid golfers and tennis players are prone to developing hallux rigidus. An injury, such as a severe stubbing of the big toe, can also be a culprit for the condition.
It’s best to have your toe joint examined when you first notice pain while walking, standing, squatting, or bending over. If recognized and addressed early, the condition can be improved with conservative treatments such as shoe modifications, orthotic devices, medications, injection therapy, and physical therapy. But when the condition progresses and conservative attempts fail, surgery may be required to repair the damage from this painful condition.