Why Can’t I Move My Big Toe?


A stiff big toe, which is called hallux rigidus, is caused when degenerative arthritis affects the big toe joint. This condition generally occurs in people over age fifty from all the wear and tear of daily living. Untreated flat feet, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis are risk factors for developing a stiff big toe joint. You really notice how important your big toes are for walking, climbing stairs, or just standing when you develop problems with them.

The diagnosis of hallux rigidus can be difficult due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to those caused by other foot conditions such as bunions. And the fact that the arthritis of hallux rigidus occurs over many years, the initial stages will have a minor impact on toe movement with complete stiffness not happening until the disease is well advanced. The initial stage of big toe stiffness is called hallux limitus. See your foot specialist for proper identification and treatment since early intervention can avoid future complications.

Some conservative treatments for hallux rigidus include the following:

●     Properly fitted shoes with custom orthotic inserts - Orthotics that are specially designed and properly placed in your footwear will redistribute the pressure on the toes and improve foot mechanics. When used along with properly fitted shoes that have stiffer soles, the symptoms of hallux rigidus can be greatly reduced.

●     Ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain - Anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain and inflammation.

●     Steroid treatments - Steroid injections may help restore some movement.

If you are concerned about stiffness in your big toe, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!