Many people live with a condition formally known as hallux rigidus - a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, and with time it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe until it becomes fused and no longer bends at all.
Because hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe's motion decreases as time goes on. In the early stages of the condition the toe is limited in its range of motion.
As the condition advances, the toe's range of motion gradually decreases until it eventually reaches the end stage of "rigidus"— where the big toe becomes stiff, or what is sometimes called a "frozen joint."
What to look for:
Pain/stiffness in big toe during use (walking, standing, bending)
Pain aggravated by cold, damp weather
Swelling and inflammation around the joint
There is hope
Fortunately, there are treatment options available that can help ease your pain and improve mobility.
Orthotics – can help encourage normal pronation in the ‘toe-off’ phase of the gait cycle
Shoe modifications - forefoot racker soled shoes with wider toe boxes (a wider, stiffer shoe with a curled-up toe) reduces the amount of toe bend when walking
Surgery – this is a last resort only if orthotics or shoe modifications don’t work