Hallux rigidus is an arthritic condition found in the joint located between the big toe and long bone of the forefoot. Arthritis is the inflammation of joints caused by the gradual degradation of cartilage between the joints.
The joints are constantly exposed to wear and tear and the joints in our feet are exposed to twice the pressure of carrying our weight when walking. Just imagine the time we spent running or jumping and you have the perfect recipe for a joint injury. But these are not the only causes of joint damage in the big toe. Shoes also have a part in the development of big toe arthritis.
Wearing tight, closed shoes especially those which press the toes against each other can lead to joint damage. High heels in particular which shift your weight towards the toe area exposes the big toe joint to stresses which it was not originally designed for. The joints become inflamed as a result of damaged cartilage and with time hardens to form a foot deformity.
Signs and Symptoms
Possible signs that you are suffering from big toe arthritis include:
- Pain felt at the base of the big toe
- Swelling, redness and tenderness
- Pain that is immediately relieved by resting the feet
- Pain that steadily increases in intensity with foot movement
- Stiffness in the big toe
Visit a podiatrist for any signs of big toe arthritis. Pain is a clear indication of possible injury. Dr. Joseph Stuto is a podiatrist who specializes in detecting big toe arthritis and other foot disorders.
Diagnosis of Big Toe Arthritis
A podiatrist starts his assessment by visually inspecting the big toe area for any swelling and tenderness, an indication of inflammation. They also assess joint movement and compare it with the other foot. For positive identification, an X-ray, MRI could be used to view extent of joint injury.
As with any other disease, early diagnosis gives you the best chance of full recovery. It helps you stop the progress of the disease for easier treatment options. An anti-inflammatory medication could be used to reduce swelling and pain medications for pain management. However, surgery may be the only option for those suffering from severe big toe arthritis.