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Is Your Big Toe Feeling Stiff? Here’s What To Do

los-angeles-california-foot-surgeonsDoes your big toe feel stiff?

Is it getting harder for you to bend it?

You may have a condition called “hallux rigidus,” which is a form of degenerative arthritis.

What should you do if you suspect  this problem? Keep reading!

(image by FeetInFocus.com)

We use our big toe whenever walking, stooping down, climbing up and standing. So when we have hallux rigidus, it can seriously affect our lives. Hallux rigidus is progressive, which means the big toe’s motion decreases over time until it potentially reaches a point when it becomes completely stiff.

Hallux rigidus is caused by faulty function, structural abnormalities and genetics. People who have fallen arches or excessive rolling in their ankles can develop hallux rigidus. Sometimes hallux rigidus can develop from overuse in activities or jobs. Hallux rigidus can also be spurred on by an injury and/or inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

Symptoms of hallux rigidus include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe during use
  • Pain and stiffness aggravated by cold, damp weather
  • Difficulty with certain activities
  • Swelling and inflammation around the joint
  • Pain, even during rest
  • Difficulty wearing shoes because bone spurs develop
  • Dull pain in the hip, knee, or lower back due to changes in the way you walk
  • Limping

The sooner this condition is diagnosed by a foot and ankle doctor, the easier it is to treat. So don’t wait until its gets worse because it will be more difficult to care for.

Treatment for hallux rigidus may include:

  • Shoe modifications. Shoes with a large toe box put less pressure on your toe
  • Custom orthotic devices may improve foot function
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Injections of corticosteroids by a foot and ankle doctor may reduce inflammation and pain
  • Ultrasound therapy or other physical therapy may provide temporary relief

Sometimes, surgery is the only way to eliminate or reduce pain for people who have hallux rigidus. A foot and ankle doctor will examine your foot, review your medical history and take X-rays of your foot to decide if surgery is needed.

If you have foot pain that is persistent and won’t go away, do not let it go untreated or it could very well get worse. Get your foot looked at today so that tomorrow is pain-free.

Please call 626-447-2184 (Arcadia) or 818-408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak make an appointment with Dr. Alireza Khosroabadi about your foot and/or ankle needs.

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