Loosen Up: Stiff Big Toes Get Complicated

Sep 21, 2015

Stress and stiffness can have major negative effects on your life, from heart problems to general distress. That’s why staying flexible and relaxed—figuratively and literally—is important. Milford’s third annual Restaurant Week this October 5 could be a good way to do that. After all, it allows you to get a full meal from some of our best restaurants at a great price. If hallux rigidus has your toe feeling stiff and painful, though, you’re going to need longer-term treatment—and sooner than later. Letting this condition get out of control can lead to some serious complications.

First, a quick review: hallux rigidus is a problem with arthritis in the big toe where the digit and the first metatarsal meet. It gradually stiffens this joint, making it difficult and uncomfortable to move it. As you might expect, this can make using that toe to walk or run very uncomfortable.

As the cartilage in the affected joint wears down, the space between the toe bones and the first metatarsal shrinks. This makes the digit more difficult to move. The friction from the bones grinding together only increases the stiffness and inflexibility. Eventually your toe may ache even at rest. Cold, damp weather can increase your discomfort and contribute to swelling.

This isn’t the only problem that can arise from a stiff big toe, however. Serious hallux rigidus can develop a bone spur on the top or side of your foot that makes wearing normal shoes uncomfortable. The friction resulting from bones rubbing together stimulates excess bone to grow in the wrong place. It may appear on the top of the joint, or it may grow more to the side and look like a bunion. This hard bump is usually prone to blisters and calluses, too.

Your stiff big toe can make life very painful and keep you from doing what you love. Because it’s a degenerative problem, it won’t get better on its own. Let our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. help you slow down the arthritis and maintain your mobility before complications arise.

Schedule an appointment with us by calling either of our two area offices.