Several conditions can cause pain in the big toe and around the joint. One of the most common causes is called hallux limitus. With hallux limitus the big toe joint does not move as well as it should. Due to the lack of motion in this joint, it can develop arthritis and bone spurring. When the joint doesn’t move as much as it should it can develop inflammation and pain in and around the joint. Remember the last motion we do with our foot when walking is pushing off that big toe to propel us. Signs of symptoms can be pain when walking or with activity, pain with motion of the joint, swelling and redness around the joint, pain and pain from rubbing in a shoe.


  • Abnormal foot biomechanics
  • Trauma
  • Foot deformities
  • Inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis)
  • Overuse
  • Inadequate shoe gear



  • Orthotics with modifications
  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Topical pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Rocker bottom type shoes


  • Cheilectomy (reshaping the joint and resecting all bone spurs)
  • Osteotomy  (depresses the joint and straightens the joint)
  • Joint implants
  • Joint fusion
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