Medical City Dallas

Baylor, Scott & White Plano


Diagnosing and Treating Hallux Limitus

If you’re experiencing pain in your big toe and are finding that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to walk or run, take a moment to look at it carefully. You should be able to bend your toe anywhere between 50 to 90 degrees.

What is Hallux Limitus?

If you’ve lost the range of motion in your big toe, you may be suffering from Hallux Limitus, a condition that can lead to arthritis of the great toe joint. If you’re young, the word “arthritis” might not be what you expected to hear, but it’s actually a very common problem that is caused by the abnormal function and alignment of your foot bones and joints.

Great toe arthritis is often the cause of pain in the big toe when moving. Most who suffer from this condition report that there is little to no pain when the toe is not bearing weight.

In many cases, the first metatarsal bone in your foot rests higher than your other metatarsal bones, so when you walk, your big toe joint tends to “jam,” which eventually causes pain, calluses and even bone spurs.

The big toe is vital to your gait and propulsion – when its motion is limited, the other joints in your foot have to compensate, causing extra strain.  This strain leads to an inefficient gait pattern, increased fatigue, and pain.

The causes for great toe arthritis lie with genetics or overuse injuries. Many people develop arthritis in their big toe joint from a previously untreated trauma or injury. Over time, extra bone growth occurs on top of the toe joint and the joint cartilage erodes, leading to arthritis.

How is Hallux Limitus Treated?

The good news is that there are many non-surgical courses of treatment that can prevent further degeneration of the joint and reduce pain. Drs. Joel Brook and David Northcutt, at Dallas Podiatry Works, want to make the diagnosis and treatment of your pain a priority. They will conduct a thorough examination of the affected foot, including digital X-rays, to rule out other causes of your pain. Once diagnosed, they will be able to explain treatment options catered to your specific needs

To treat the problem, you will be fitted with a prescription orthotic device to wear inside your shoes, which will accommodate the condition in order to relieve the pain. This can slow or even stop the damage to the joint and eliminate painful calluses, so it’s important to wear your orthotic daily. You may also receive oral or topical anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections to reduce swelling and pain.

If your big toe joint has degenerated to the point where it has developed bone spurs or cartilage damage, surgery may be required. The recovery from surgery is usually rapid and is followed by physical therapy.

The longer you let your arthritis go untreated, the greater the possibility that your big toe joint will require surgery, so see a podiatrist right away if you suspect you have this condition. Make an appointment with Dallas Podiatry Works now.

"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist and Plano podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot care and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, sports-related foot injuries, bunion treatment, bunion removal surgery, toenail fungus treatment, ingrown toenail treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, safe pedicure, medicures, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
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