5 Facts about Big Toe Pain

Big Toe Pain May Be Resolved in Consultation with a Foot and Ankle Specialist

Are you suffering from big toe pain in your joint? You may need to see a foot doctor near you. 

The joint where the foot meets the big toe—the 1st metatarsal-phalangeal joint (MTP)—is a common site of pain for athletes and non-athletes alike. This condition is called hallux rigidus, and pain can range from a mild nuisance to disabling.

Here what you should know if you are experiencing big toe pain that is interfering with the activities you enjoy:

1. Big Toe Pain in the Joint Is Common

Pain in this area of the big toe is common in both adults and teens, but is most common as a person enters middle age. Like other joints - such as the knee, hip, and shoulder - the cartilage in the MTP joint of the big toe can start to wear out or break down as a result of poor alignment, past injuries (even a bad toe stub can irritate the cartilage), and age. Similar to other joints, over time, these factors may lead to inflammation, arthritis, or bone spurs in the joint that result in pain.

2. You May Not Require Surgery for Your Big Toe Pain

Something as simple as putting a stiff carbon plate insole inside your shoe can offer relief by limiting the motion of the MTP joint. There are also anti-inflammatory creams, injections, and other therapies that can offer significant relief. An orthopedic foot specialist will be able to determine if there is a non-surgical option that is right for you.

3. Sometimes Big Toe Pain May Require Surgery

Two of the most common surgical techniques for hallux rigidus are procedures to remove bone spurs in the toe joint (cheilectomy) or to fuse the toe joint. There are also joint implants and synthetic cartilage options that can be done to relieve pain while maintaining the joint’s range of motion.

4. A Foot Doctor Near You May Be Able to Help

If you are doing less of something you enjoy due to big toe pain, it’s time to call a foot and ankle doctor. There are many effective treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, and an orthopedic foot specialist will help you to determine which treatment is right for you.

5. Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialists Are Your Best Option

It’s best to see an orthopedic specialist who has completed a foot and ankle fellowship. A fellowship is an extra year of training after orthopedic surgery residency that concentrates solely on the foot and ankle. A fellowship-trained foot and ankle specialist will be the most up-to-date on the latest treatment options and usually only sees patients with foot, ankle or toe conditions.

Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics in Nashville and Franklin, TN has two orthopedic surgeons that are fellowship-trained foot and ankle specialists: Jeffrey D. Willers, MD and Brian Thomson, MD. 

You can request an appointment online to see one of our foot and ankle specialists in Nashville, TN or Franklin, TN.

For readers outside of Middle Tennessee, we recommend scheduling an appoiintment with a foot doctor near you for examination if your big toe pain continues.

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