Why Can’t I Bend My Big Toe?

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If you can’t bend your big toe, you may have a condition called hallux rigidus that is caused when degenerative arthritis increases deterioration of the big toe joint. Risk factors for developing hallux rigidus include having poorly treated flat feet, gout, and other arthritic conditions.

Properly functioning big toes are essential for walking, climbing stairs, or just standing up, and we often don’t realize how important they are until we can longer bend them properly. 

Since other big toe conditions like bunions can have similar symptoms to hallux rigidus, you need to see your podiatrist for the right diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help prevent chronic complications from developing in the future.

3 conservative treatments for big toe stiffness include the following:

1)    Wear the right shoes with custom orthotic inserts—Custom orthotics that are specially designed to precisely fit your feet can be properly placed to redistribute the pressure on the toes. Wear properly fitted shoes that have stiffer soles and a wide toe box.

2)    Reduce swelling and pain—Icing the toe several times a day is helpful and taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help relieve pain and swelling.

3)    Steroid treatments—Corticosteroid injections will help restore movement, but they could have side effects.

If you are experiencing severe stiffness in your big toe, see your foot doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuries, pediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.