What is Hallux Limitus?

Wednesday, 23 December 2015  |  Admin

Hallux Limitus may sound complicated, but to put it in slightly simpler terms, it’s the early stages of what eventually becomes arthritis of the big toe or Hallux Rigidus. The condition directly affects the functionality of the joint of the big toe and, as the name suggests, limits the toe’s range of motion.

Big Toe, Big Problem

While a stiff big toe may seem like a minor issue, it’s the most important toe you’ve got! Your big toe plays a key role when you run, tip toe, jump or squat, and when it’s challenged in its ability to do any of these things, you’ll be sure to notice it.

As Hallux Limitus is the early onset of Hallux Rigidus it may not pose quite the same levels of pain and or/debilitation of these later stages, however, looking after your feet from the moment you spy any of its symptoms is key to keeping more serious problems at bay for as long as possible.

Hallux Limitus Symptoms

As with any other unpleasant foot condition, pain is the main sign of there being an issue with your big toe. The pain you feel may not always be constant, only becoming apparent when you need to bear a lot of weight on your toes such as when tip-toeing or squatting. In some cases, though, pain can be constantly present, even when the foot is completely at rest.

What is Hallux Limitus?

A grinding or grating feeling can also suggest something amiss with your toe joint. It may feel tight or swollen, and stiffness, or overall limited motion of the toe, is a common symptom of Hallux Limitus. A bone spur developing on the joint, or a particularly temperamental soreness that is far more apparent in cold temperatures are similarly likely signs of this condition.

Symptoms might also be much more subtle, like a constant ache in the hip for no fault of its own! With an under-performing toe forcing your gait to change, and your legs and hips thrown off balance, your posture will slowly begin to suffer.

Causes of Hallux Limitus

Several things can cause Hallux Limitus, including genetics where arthritis or high or low arches run in the family. Injury of the big toe can also lead to a general limitation of the joint, and any injury to the cartilage can prevent the toe from moving as well as it once did.

A particularly long first metatarsal bone (where your big toe is placed) or a particularly short second metatarsal can also cause the big toe to eventually struggle to easily move. Other conditions like Gout can provoke the onset of Hallux Limitus, as can any trauma like a particularly bad toe stub.

Toe Treatment

Hallux Limitus can benefit from the RICE method just like many other foot conditions, except with the added step of P, for protection. This is especially important for toes that were originally affected by Hallux Limitus due to injury as any repeat incidents will only make matters worse. RICE is easy to decipher: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. While these methods aren’t able to heal the root of Hallux Limitus which has to do with the bones of the toe, they can soothe the pain it causes and relieve any swelling or inflammation you may suffer. 

For a range of insoles to help protect and relieve your condition, visit our Insoles for Hallux Limitus!

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What is Hallux Limitus?

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