Why Is My Big Toe Stiff and Painful?

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Have you noticed that your big toe hurts and has become hard to bend? You may have a condition known as hallux rigidus, which means “stiff big toe.” The cause of hallux rigidus is from degeneration of the joint that occurs from the wear and tear of life. Arthritis can set in over time, making the toe hard to bend and causing a resultant difficulty in standing, walking, and climbing stairs. Other conditions that can contribute to a stiff big toe problem include gout and overpronation.

Accurately diagnosing the cause of your big toe pain and stiffness is essential to getting the proper treatment, since a stiff big toe can be caused by other conditions such as bunions. Also, arthritis in the big toe may at first only limit toe movement, without showing signs of extreme rigidity. Cold or damp weather may worsen symptoms, and regular activities will be curtailed due to the pain and inflammation.

Treating a stiff big toe

If initial treatments like resting and icing are not providing relief, other treatments may include cortisone injections, pain medication, custom orthotic inserts to redistribute pressure and stress, and making sure your shoes have plenty of room in the toe box. Choosing stiff shoe soles can also help to relieve pressure on the toe joints.

If you are experiencing big toe stiffness and pain, see your foot doctor for the best care. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.