Hallux what? Nearly everyone has heard of bunions, but not too many people have heard of "hallux limitus." This is a similar, yet different, problem that can happen to the big toe joint of the foot.
With each and every step we take, we need to push off with our big toe joint to get the proper propulsion motion required to walk or run. The optimal range of motion needed for this is about sixty-five degrees. Sometimes, due to the structure of the foot, the big toe joint cannot achieve this full range of motion. Instead, it may only get thirty degrees or less of motion. This is what we call "hallux limitus."
Basically, hallux limitus is the name we use to describe the loss of movement in the big toe. It starts off as a mild limitation of motion and can continue on to become a completely bone-on-bone arthritic joint. Eventually, as the two ends of the bone continue to collide and jam against each other, there is progressive inflammation, loss of cartilage, formation of bone spurs, and loss of joint space. Symptoms include pain in the joint with upward motion, swelling in the joint, stiffness of the joint, and changes in the appearance of the big toe joint. Common causes include abnormal alignment of the first metatarsal, a long first metatarsal, or trauma.
Early treatment options include functional orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone injections. If these do not alleviate the symptoms, then surgery is the next possibility. The earlier the condition is treated, the better the outcome of your big toe joint.
That's why out-of-sight, out-of-mind shouldn’t apply when it comes to your feet. You may not be wearing flip-flops or sandals for much longer, but you don’t want to forget about your foot health. Now is the perfect time to come into DM Foot & Ankle Associates to get your feet evaluated!