Why Is My Big Toe So Stiff?


Severe stiffness of the big toe joint, which is called hallux rigidus, occurs when degenerative arthritis affects the joint. This condition usually happens in people over fifty and is the result of stress and pressure on the joints over time. Having high arches and rheumatoid arthritis are risk factors for developing a stiff big toe. When you have a lot of trouble bending your big toes, it can cause problems with just standing, walking, and climbing stairs.

3 non-invasive treatments for hallux rigidus include the following:

1)    Proper shoes with custom orthotic insertsSpecially-designed and properly placed orthotic inserts in your footwear will redistribute the pressure on the toes, providing relief for pain and discomfort. Also, wear properly fitted shoes that have stiffer soles and a wide toe box.

2)    Medication for pain and swelling—Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.

3)    Steroid injections—Corticosteroid injections can help restore movement, but may have side effects.

Diagnosing hallux rigidus is complicated since the symptoms are similar to those caused by other foot conditions like bunions and gout. Hallux rigidus develops over many years, with complete stiffness not happening until the disease is in the more advanced stages. Be sure to see your foot specialist for proper identification and treatment, since early intervention can help avoid these problems.

If you are experiencing stiffness in your big toe, contact your podiatrist for the proper care. Call Achilles Foot and Ankle Surgery, PC located in Martins Ferry, Ohio and St. Clairsville, Ohio, as well as Wheeling West Virginia. With access to advanced technologies, Dr. Bruce G. Blank and his staff can help you manage all of your foot and ankle conditions including heel pain, ankle sprains, toe deformities, fungal toenails, and plantar warts. Call 740-633-4188 or make an appointment online today.