Has your big toe become stiff and unmovable? Do you find yourself walking on the side of your foot to avoid the pain in your toe? Do you have a bump on the top of your toe and you're wondering if it's a bunion.

Any of these symptoms can be the result of condition called Hallux Rigidus or "stiff big toe". The most common form of arthritis in the foot, Hallux Rigidus is also a progressive condition--the pain and stiffness become worse over time. You may be thinking "it can't be me because I'm too young to have arthritis". Hallux Rigidus can occur in people as young as 30.

What Causes It?

  • Overuse of the joint- runners, golfers, and other athletes are more at risk for this condition due to the increase in stress placed on the toe joint
  • Stubbing the toe - athletes can more easily stub or sprain their toe during play (often referred to as turf toe)
  • Inheriting a specific foot type - certain foot types make it more likely for you to walk in way that leads to this condition.
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your podiatrist will test your toe's range of motion and in addition, take X-rays to determine if the toe is abnormal or if there are any bone spurs--a problem that usually occurs once the problem has progressed.

How Is It Treated?

It's important to visit your Seattle foot doctor as soon as you notice a problem to avoid complications and possible surgery. Treatments for Hallux Rigidus depend on the cause and can include:

  • Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Applying ice packs or alternating between hot and cold water soaks can help reduce inflammation
  • Wearing shoes with a stiff sole with a rocker bottom design such as Hoka for runners and Dansko for walkers can reduce the amount of bend in the big toe and decrease pain. Shoes should also have a toe box that allows you to wiggle your toes.
  • Exercise - you can help your toe become more movable by seeing a physical therapy or perfoming extension and flexibility exercises at home.
  • Corticosteroid injections into the joint
  • Orthotics to correct foot mechanics to relieve pressure on the to request an appointment online.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

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Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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