What Causes Pain in the Big Toe Joint? With Seattle Podiatrist Larry Huppin

What Causes Pain in the Big Toe Joint? With Seattle Podiatrist Larry Huppin


Hi there. So today, I just want to go over
a few minutes on the most common cause of pain in the big toe joint. So that’s this
joint right here. Standardly, when we walk, as we go forward, the big toe joint will bend
like that, usually somewhere around 60 to 90 degrees, and we come off the ground. Now, some people, when they walk, they roll
in this way too much. And as they roll in, the ground, you can see, pushes up under that
big toe joint. When that occurs, that pressure from the ground causes a jamming in that big
toe joint. So, as you go forward, you can’t get that full range of motion. And if you
can’t get that full range of motion, all that force that was going to moving the foot like
this, starts going to jamming these two bones together. And you can get a huge amount of
compression in that joint, leading to pain in that joint. That condition is called hallux limitus. Hallux
means big toe; limitus simply means a limited range of motion. Now, over time, hallux limitus
can lead to so much compression in the joint that it causes arthritis, or in some feet,
all that force ends up going like this and it causes a bunion deformity. And you can
find much more information on both arthritis of the big toe joint and bunions on our website.
Today I just want to go over a little bit about the main cause of the pain in that joint. Now, often, the pain will occur before there’s
any damage to the joint. So, anybody who does have pain in the big toe joint should try
and treat it right away. I’d recommend seeing a podiatrist who specializes in orthotics
and biomechanics, and let them take a look at that joint. If you want to try and treat
this yourself, what you want to do is, try and stop this foot from rolling inwards so
much. You can do that a couple ways. You can use
a good stable shoe that’s firm on the heel and doesn’t twist so much, so it helps prevent
the foot from rolling inward. You can use a high-quality, over the counter arch support
inside your shoe. This also prevents that foot from going inward and takes the force
off of that joint, allowing better motion as you walk forward. You can find a selection
of what we think are the best over the counter orthotics for this problem on our website. Just do a search for “over the counter orthotics
for bunions” or “over the counter orthotics for big toe joint pain.” And then finally,
if that’s not enough, you can get a custom orthotic. This one will conform closer to
the arch of the foot, so it does a better job of freeing up the motion in that joint.
Now, these are pretty big orthotics. You can also get small ones that fit into dress shoes. Again, basically if you have pain in the big
toe joint, you really should get that treated. That’s a sign that there’s damage occurring
to the joint. Again, go see a podiatrist who specializes in this. In the short term, though,
treat it by getting into a more stable shoe and using a decent arch support in your shoes.
And again, if you go to our website, you can find information on all of that.

5 thoughts on “What Causes Pain in the Big Toe Joint? With Seattle Podiatrist Larry Huppin

  1. I am a massage therapist and my client is complaining of what feels like "nerve pain" on the outer, most distal metatarsal of the big toe joint…thoughts?

  2. I have swelling on the superior and medial aspect of my left big toe, and it doesn't want to flex downward without a lot of pain that seems to come from a more pronounced yet fairly small swollen point, posterior and medial to my toenail right on the IP joint. I can bend the proximal metatarsal/phalangeal joint of big toe but not the interphalangeal. Is this flexor tendonitis?

    I frequent the gym and do a lot of lower body exercises and a lot of repetitions and the pain and swelling began about a day or so after my last lower body day(including back squats and front squats)

  3. Thank you! I've been wearing the exact orthotic insert you showed to help with the pain in my 2nd and 3rd toes. I purchased a new pair of hiking shoes last year and it was the first time that it felt like the medial aspect of my heel was rolling inward. Felt like a table missing a leg. Then I noticed the same issue in the next pair of running shoes I got (Aasics). This video makes sense why I am now having pain in first MTP. I also purchased a new set of the orthotics shown in the video that has the metal shank. I felt instant relief why I tried out the new ones.

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