Pain and Restricted Movement in the Big Toe Joint
Hallux Limitus is often a result of a degenerative-type arthritis condition that affects the large joint at the base of the big toe. The degenerative arthritis is called Osteoarthritis and is wear and tear on the joint surface over time. The condition may follow an injury to the joint, multiple minor injuries or from poor foot mechanics over time increasing stress on the cartilage within the joint.
The joint at the base of the great toe is called the "metatarsal-phalangeal joint" or MTP joint. Like any other joint in the body, the joint is covered with articular cartilage, a very slick shiny covering on the end of the bone. If this material is injured, it begins a slow process of "wearing out" or degeneration. Once the articular cartilage is worn away bone rubs against raw bone. Bone spurs, called Osteophytes form around the joint. These Osteophytes restrict the motion in the joint, especially the ability of the toe to bend upward when the foot moves forward.
Treatment of Hallux Limitus:
- Exercises - to maintain as much joint range of motion as possible
- Orthotics - support the joint and reduce stress on the joint cartilage relieving pain and reducing the speed of the wear and tear on the joint
- Surgery - An Arthroplasty is a joint replacement or Arthrodesis which is fusing the joint. These procedures are best performed by Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Orthotics can be very effective in supporting the joint, reducing pain and postponing the need for surgery.