Hallux limitus is a condition that many people in the U.S. experience. However, the initial symptoms are usually confused with bunions or other diseases. For this reason, it is important to see a podiatrist in the event of chronic foot problems.

Hallux Limitus Causes

Hallux limitus and hallux rigidus are result of years of wear and tear on the cartilage. This is usually caused by repetitive injuries to your toe. This can be caused by striking your toe on different occasions, wearing shoes that are too tight, and even by bad running techniques.

Hallux limitus can also be a hereditary disease, especially for people with high arches or foot pronation.

The elderly can also experience hallux limitus due to osteoarthritis. Once the joint begins to deteriorate, they will experience the same symptoms.

Hallux Limitus Symptoms

If you have hallux limitus, you will notice pain in your big toe. The pain increases when you place weight on your foot, and you will have various forms of joint stiffness. During the later stages of the disease, it’s called hallux rigidus, because you will have very little or no movement in your toe, that’s why it is often called “stiff toe.”

Hallux limitus also makes it difficult to stand for long periods, and it becomes awkward to walk, because you will automatically begin placing weight on other parts of your feet to avoid the pain in your toe.

Hallux Limitus Treatment

  • Loose Fitting Shoes – You will need to wear shoes that have a special wide toe section, or are large enough on your foot that it doesn’t apply pressure to your toe.
  • Hot and Cold Treatment – You should get two buckets or plastic containers, which are wide enough to rest your foot. In one container, you will have very cold water and the other very warm water. Place your foot in the cold water for 30 seconds, immediately alternating with the warm water for 30 seconds. This should be done for about five minutes. This can help stop inflammation in your foot.
  • Ice – Ice helps reduce inflammation, too. It’s good to apply ice long enough for the toe to become numb. Ice is best applied by using a Styrofoam cup and freezing water inside. You can slowly tear off the Styrofoam until you have enough ice exposed to rub your toe. After you finish, you can place the rest of the ice back in the freezer to be used again.
  • Pain Medication – Ibuprofen and similar medicines can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Surgery – If the condition turns into hallux rigidus, you might need surgery to repair the damage. Techniques such as arthrodesis, cheilectomy, and arthroplasty can be performed by an orthopedic surgeon.

Contact InMotion Foot and Ankle if you notice symptoms of hallux limitus, or other foot conditions. Your podiatrist is professionally trained to know exactly what is wrong with your foot.