HOMEPAGE - Orthotics by Archatomics - Custom Arch Supports - Foot Pain Relief - Foot Balance

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  Big Toe Pain

Sudden onset of pain in the big toes is often caused by gout which is an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint of the big toe. The crystals cause inflammation and pain in the joint.

However if the big toe pain has been present for a while or slowly getting worse it may be the result of a condition called hallux rigidus or hallux limitus. Hallux is the medical term for the big toe. Hallux rigidus is a rigid big toe and hallux limitus is a big toe with limited movement. Both hallux limitus and hallux limitus are most often the result of osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis) of the big toe. Hallux limitus is an early form of hallux rigidus. In other words the limited movement becomes no movement (rigid) if the condition is not treated.

Walk a few steps and pay close attention to what happens in the joint at the base of your big toe. At the end of the step the joint at the base of the big toe bends to almost a 90 degree angle and the big toe is used to push off at the end of the step. The amount of force at this joint can reach twice body weight during walking. It is no wonder why this joint would be prone to wear and tear arthritis after being subjected to twice the body weight over a million steps per year. However some people are more prone to this condition than others. For some people this condition may run in their family. Others may be prone to hallux rigidus or limitus due to poor biomechanics when walking or running. They may have excessive pronation (rolling-in) of the arch as they step. This puts increased pressure on the big toe joint.

It is important to diagnosis this condition early. Specially designed orthotics can ease the pain in the joint and prevent further joint damage. If you are experiencing the warning signs that include pain and stiffness in the big toe during walking or stooping call you should see your doctor for further evaluation.  Gout usually requires prescription medication, hallux rigidus usually requires a custom arch support (orthotic) that limits motion of the big toe and hallux limitus usually requires a custom orthotic that improves function of the big toe joint.  The correct treatment requires the correct diagnosis.

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