See a Hallux Limitus Specialist in Chattanooga
Let’s find the appropriate treatment for your hallux limitus or hallux rigidus. Our Chattanooga clinic accommodates Spanish- and English-speaking patients. Schedule your appointment today.
What You Need to Know
About Hallux Limitus or Rigidus
Hallux limitus is a condition that affects the joint connecting your foot and big toe. Individuals with this condition have sore, stiff, and inflamed halluxes, resulting in pain and limited flexibility.
If left untreated, it can progress to a condition called hallux rigidus, where you can’t move or bend your joint at all. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening through conservative treatment and careful management.
What Causes Hallux Limitus
Most of the hallux limitus/rigidus cases are due to an abnormal metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP joint) due to genetics. The metatarsal bone is usually too long or elevated, which prevents the MTP joint from working correctly.
Experts have also found that hallux limited/rigidus can be developed due to factors and conditions, such as:
- Overuse – Joint damage can happen when your lifestyle or occupation requires you to have repeated pressure on your toes.
- Trauma/Injury – A sprained or broken toe can contribute to hallux limitus.
- Footwear – Wearing shoes that are too small will have an impact on your joints. High heels can also put additional stress on the hallux if worn frequently.
- Inflammatory Conditions – These disorders include gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Neuromuscular Conditions – These conditions affect your balance, changing weight distribution across the foot and causing too much pressure on your big toe joint.
What Are the Symptoms
Experiencing pain at the big toe joint that worsens when you bend it is an early sign of hallux limitus. Other symptoms you need to look out for include:
- Numbness or tingling if the nerves are pressed by bone spurs
- Having the inability to flex your toe about 65 degrees upward while standing
- A callus on the big toe caused by increased pressure
- A bony lump that can hurt when it rubs against footwear
- Limping (for severe cases)
These symptoms start mild but will gradually get worse. When this happens, foot flexibility gets compromised and can affect other joints in your body, so you may also experience knee, hip, or lower back pain.
When to See a Doctor
Sprained ankles are quickly identified because they are common injuries. However, we recommend seeing our podiatrist to if:
- The sprained ankle has no signs of improvement a few days after the injury
- You experience significant pain or extreme bruising or swelling
- You can’t put weight on the injured foot without bothersome pain
In some cases, the damage is not limited to the ankle ligaments. There might be torn tendons and small bone fractures that require medical attention.
How to Treat Hallux Limitus/Rigidus
There are many ways you can manage pain and discomfort as well as prevent the condition from worsening. It can even postpone or prevent the need for surgery.
Avoid overusing your big toe
Rest your foot frequently so it can heal from hallux limitus. Until your joint has fully recovered, avoid high-impact sports, running, and other feet-strenuous activities.
Wear proper-fitting footwear
Finding shoes, sandals, and slippers that allow your big toe to move naturally is essential. When there is ample space for movement, your joint heals from irritation.
It would be best if you also avoided heels and footwear that pinch your toes. If you need to wear heels, make sure that they’re not higher than an inch.
Use orthotics or shoe insertsInserts are made from gel, plastic, or foam. They’re designed to support and cushion your foot, making your shoes more comfortable. However, they’re not custom-made and cannot correct foot problems. Meanwhile, orthotics are prescribed medical devices to correct foot issues. There are also different types of orthotics, namely:
- Rigid Orthotics or Functional Orthotics
- Soft Orthotics or Accommodative Orthotics
Contact a Foot Specialist
If you notice pain or stiffness in your toe when you move, reach out to a Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic foot specialist. Dr. Pacheco, our board-certified foot surgeon, will help you through conservative and surgical treatment.
About Our Chattanooga Clinic
Years of Experience
Feedback from the people we have had the privilege to help:
"She truly care for her patients! Dr. Pacheco takes her time with each patient, as if she has all day! She is very thorough in her work, always has a smile on her face!!"
If she had not diagnosed my Charcot Foot, hospital would have sent me home. I could not walk and my bones were breaking. Thanking God for sending her our way.
"Awesome staff and doctor. They take time time and care for their patients. To explain to you they way that you understand"
Dr. Pacheco is always professional. She is knowledgeable, friendly, and explains things in a way the average patient can understand.
Dr. Pacheco is an intelligent and understanding doctor. She improved my problem in a short amount of time. She is very nice and friendly.
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