Hallux limitus, an arthritic condition of the hallux, or big toe, involves stiffness in the joint at the base of the big toe. Abnormal alignment of the first metatarsal bone is usually the cause of the condition that restricts motion. Injury, overuse, and genetics are other reasons for the development of hallux limitus.
Symptoms include sudden sharp pain, or the gradual development of discomfort and pain over time, as well as swelling and inflammation that are aggravated by pressure from footwear. Hallux limitus can lead to wider spread joint problems, such as hallux rigidus, as well as calluses, bone spurs on top of the joint, and diabetic foot ulcers, if left untreated. Hallux limitus can be treated with orthotic inserts to stabilize and support the area, ice, rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (ask your doctor first), and cortisone injections at the site.