Hallux limitus is a common yet debilitating condition caused by the wear and tear of everyday life. It affects your big toe’s first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint and can lead to stiffness, pain, or impaired mobility. If left unchecked, this problem may eventually progress into hallux rigidus: an advanced form that requires intensive medical treatment. The main symptom of Hallux limitus is pain and difficulty with activities that involve pushing off from the toes, like walking or running. The toe may also appear swollen and have a decreased range of motion when it’s bent up or down. This can be tested by having a doctor move the big toe up and down to check for a full range of motion. In addition, x-rays are typically done to confirm the diagnosis and show any signs of bone spurs or other abnormalities that could be causing the pain or limitation in motion. Hallux limitus treatment may start with conservative measures such as rest, medication, and physical therapy. If these techniques are not successful, special shoes or orthotics can provide relief. In more advanced cases where joint movement is restricted due to bony growths, surgical intervention might be required in order to restore proper alignment and motion. Leading an active lifestyle can help relieve the symptoms of hallux limitus. Swapping high-impact activities for low-stress alternatives, like yoga and stretching exercises to loosen tight muscles in your feet, will ease tension on the toe joint, while wearing supportive footwear helps keep discomfort from improper movement at a minimum.
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