Ouch. My big toe hurts, but I don't have a bunion. What is this?

Arthritis of the great toe joint

Many times people believe that their foot pain and great toe joint pain is just normal and that it is something that just develops naturally throughout the years. Often, this pain develops after a previous injury, trauma to the toe or due to the biomechanics behind the overall foot structure. What people don't realize is that this is a problem that can often times, easily, be fixed or made to feel much better.

Patients often attribute their pain to having a bunion. However, a bunion is a change in the angle of the 1st metatarsal, resulting in deviation of the great toe towards the 2nd toe. Arthritis of the great toe joint, called Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus, is a different problem and is treated with varying options.

From a conservative standpoint, many things can help with this problem. Rocker bottom shoes, such as Hoka, can eliminate pressure at this area. Custom orthotics can also help eliminate pain and pressure at this area. In addition, for certain patients, steroid injections, amniotic stem cell injections or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) can also be options to treat this problem.

From a surgical standpoint, the best treatment is based on the stage of arthritis. There are 4 different stages of arthritis of the 1st MPJ (great toe joint). Sometimes, the bone spurs just need shaved, called a cheilectomy. If the joint just has an osteochondral defect (cartilage injury), you can also repair this via Biocartilage. If the arthritis is progressed, you may be a candidate for a joint replacement. If the arthritis is end-stage, often times you would benefit from a joint fusion.

Overall, do not let your great toe joint pain limit you from doing the things you enjoy to do. This is a fixable problem. Come see us today and get a baseline X-ray to assess your joint and what options could help.

Author
Dr. Jessica Herzog Dr. Jessica Herzog provides podiatry care as a Board-Certified foot and ankle surgeon at Castle Rock Foot & Ankle Care. Dr. Herzog earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree at The Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Herzog is dedicated to providing exceptional care for all of her patients, which involves taking several factors into consideration to create a treatment plan. She bases this personalized plan on the patient’s lifestyle, living situation, and long-term plans/goals. Dr. Herzog also shows a strong commitment to the Castle Rock community as a whole by participating in local events, including races, chamber events and at her local church.

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