Hallux Limitus

This is a condition of the big toe joint when arthritis leads to pain and stiffness. It occurs as a result of biomechanical problems with the foot and accumulated damage over the years. The body's response to the wearing out of articular cartilage is to try to form new bone. This bone only forms at the edges of the joint which eventually reduce the movement in the joint. This condition is quite common in people who have done a lot of running or kicking sports over the years. High heeled shoes can also be involved.

You will experience pain in the big toe joint with activity, but also at rest. When severe it can keep you awake at night. You will notice the joint becomes stiff. Flexible shoes and activities that involve bending the joint a lot may be worse. You may notice hard swelling in the joint.

If you think you have this condition it is well worth getting it checked out by Mr Willis-Owen. In the mean time you may need to modify activities. It won't get better on its own, but just grumbles on. Anti-inflammatories can help to mask the symptoms.

Treatment involves first confirming the diagnosis with examination and x-rays. Treatment options may range from activity modification, shoe modification and orthotics, to surgery. When caught early enough a minor operation to remove the new bone can be very good, but if the condition is severe then options include fusing the joint, replacing the joint or even excising the joint.

Mr Willis-Owen has this condition, but it does not need surgery yet!